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The Utagawa School was the dominant line of printmaking in the nineteenth century, and it was from a commercial point of view the most successful one. Toyoharu and Toyokuni were the founding fathers. And with Kunisada and Kuniyoshi, the Utagawa school reached its commercial and social peak as a kind of pop art mass-media publishing company for the common people.
Artists of the Utagawa School
The number of artists who worked under the Utagawa name or were part of the lineage of this group of printmakers is legion, and because the so-called Utagawa School almost single-handedly dominated the field at the most productive time in the history of ukiyo-e, it is no exaggeration to claim that the majority of surviving prints from the Tokugawa Period are Utagawa-related works.
A short introduction to the Japanese artists Suisho Nishiyama, Toyonari Yamamura, Sohei Yamaguchi, Goun Nishimura and Toraji Ishikawa.
Modern Japanese Prints III
If you like cats, you will also like Tadashige Nishida woodblock prints. The artist has specialized in making woodblock prints of cats in all positions and colors. But also other popular subjects of contemporary Japanese printmaking are to be found - like tree prints or the ever-glowing Mount Fuji.
Biography of Tadashige Nishida
If you want to explain to a non-expert of Japanese prints what shin hanga is, show him ten images of landscape prints by Tsuchiya Koitsu. Although Koitsu Tsuchiya is by most not seen as important as Hasui Kawase, you will hardly find another landscape printmaker who incorporates so much the essence of shin hanga like this important Japanese printmaker of the first half of the twentieth century.
Prints by Koitsu Tsuchiya
Kunichika Toyohara was called a "forgotten master" by Amy Reigle Newland in the only Kunichika biography I know of "Time Present and Time Past". During the last years of his life Kunichika designed a series of hundred kabuki roles played by one very popular actor of the time - Ichikawa Danjuro IX. Today the series is regarded as one of Kunichika's best print works.
The Print Series by Kunichika
Kawase Hasui made more than 600 woodblock prints in Oban size, But apart from this well-known main oeuvre there are also roughly more than hundred designs in small formats. With the famous Muller collection these smaller sizes came into the awareness of a wide public.
Woodblock Prints by Hasui Kawase in Postcard Size
To say that the Tokugawa Period, with its marriage laws and social practices, was not kind to women is something of an understatement. With the exception of entertainers - teahouse girls, courtesans and geisha - and historical characters - the women of literature and legend - very few adult females star as the central figures of woodblock prints.
Kuniyoshi's Heroic Women
The 250 years of the ukiyo-e woodblock print saw the coming and going not only of a number of clothing fashions, hair styles, and ideal body types, but also several model gender definitions.
Tom Kristensen, born 1962, is a young artist from Australia who works in the tradition of Japanese woodblock printmaking. This page describes how he made his latest woodblock print titled "Currawongs, Lord Howe Island". Creating an original, hand-made woodblock print in Japanese traditional techniques is an effort that requires great skill, patience and time.
How to Make a Woodblock Print