Utagawa Hiroshige II continued the work of the great ukiyo-e master Ando Hiroshige and created several series of landscape prints.
First Publication: January 2002
Latest Update: April 2014
The original name of Hiroshige II was Chinpei Suzuki. According to tradition his master, Ando Hiroshige, gave him an artist name - usually derived from the first or last part of the master's name. Hiroshige I gave his gifted pupil the name Shigenobu.
Shigenobu was integrated into the family and was adopted by the great master when his own son had died in 1845. After Ando Hiroshige's death, Shigenobu married Otatsu, an adopted daughter of Hiroshige I.
Hiroshige I (Ando) died in 1858 and Shigenobu took his master's go calling himself Hiroshige Ichirysai. In the literature he is generally referred as Utagawa Hiroshige II.
Unfortunately the marriage with his master's daughter was not a happy one. Around 1865 the couple was divorced and the unfortunate ex-husband moved to Yokohama. He then used the name Ryusho, but also his original name Shigenobu.
But he was not doing so well any more. Literature sources report that he had to earn his living by painting tea boxes and lanterns for export and that he died in complete poverty four years after his divorce.
Otatsu, his divorced wife, remarried - another pupil of her father, namely Shigemasa. Shigemasa from then on called himself Hiroshige III.
Hiroshige II continued the landscape style of his master without adding much creativity of his own. He tried to continue the formula of success by publishing more "Famous Views of ..." landscape series.
Hiroshige II prints are good and solid works. Some are appreciated as outstanding and collectors are willing to pay a high price for them. Foremost the winter landscape ukiyo-e of Hiroshige II are to be mentioned.
Collectors should know that the three Hiroshige artists used the same signatures during certain phases of their artistic work.
Author: Dieter Wanczura
Richard Lane, "Images from the Floating World", Konecky & Konecky, 156 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, 1978, ISBN 0-914427-54-7.
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