Friday, September 13, 2013

Japanese woodblock print by Toyokuni III

Utagawa Toyoharu (1735–1814) was a Japanese printmaker and founder of the famed Utagawa school. He studied in Kyoto under Tsuruzawa Tangei, a Kanō school painter, before moving to Edo in 1760.

Depiction of Rome in an Edo period woodblock print by Utagawa Toyoharu, copied after a European engraving. Private collection, Japan.

One of his most talented pupils Utagawa Kunisada (1786 – January 12, 1865) ( 歌川 国貞, also known as Utagawa Toyokuni III 三代歌川豊国 ) became the most successful designer of ukiyo-e woodblock prints in 19th-century Japan. 

Woodblock print portrait of Utagawa Kunisada, at the age of 80 years, dated January 1865. This memorial portrait was designed by his principal student, Kunisada II, and is one of the few known images of Kunisada.

In this rare & captivating Wood Engraved Oban Diptych Print of unknown Kabuki performance printed approx 1850′s – 1860′s, late Edo, early Meiji Era, Utagawa Toyokuni (三代歌) represents a Samurai defending his love interest and honor against the advances of a rival.

Samurai defends his love interest & honour by dunking his rival into the Sumida  River. Cherry blossoms are depicted symbolizing spring, renewal & romance.

In another of his works from the Seisho series, Toyokuni III chose to depict a couple enjoying a special moment with the man smoking a kiseru, enjoying the aftermath of an eventful boatride?

Man smoking a pipe, seisho series; signed; 13 1/2" x 8 1/2"


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