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Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Japanese, 1797–1861

597 followers

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Bio

Japanese, 1797–1861

Followers
597
Biography

The son of silk dyer, little is known about Ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi's early years, though he is said to have shown remarkable talent from a young age. At age 14 he was accepted to study woodblock printing under Utagawa Toyokuni I and would become one of his most successful students. In direct contrast to Hiroshige and Hokusai's peaceful views of a scenic Japan published in the 1830s and ‘40s, the following decades saw a rise in popular taste for the fierce, fearsome and fantastical in ukiyo-e, which Kuniyoshi embraced. In 1814, he left Toyokuni’s studio to pursue a career as an independent artist. Initially, he had little success, selling tatami mats in order to support himself. His fortunes changed in 1827 with his dramatic series 108 Heroes of the Suikoden, and from that point on, he became known for portrayals of famous samurai and legendary heroes. Kuniyoshi also worked in in other print genres, producing landscapes and bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women).

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Group
Group show at a major institution
Dallas Museum of Art
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
Biography

The son of silk dyer, little is known about Ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi's early years, though he is said to have shown remarkable talent from a young age. At age 14 he was accepted to study woodblock printing under Utagawa Toyokuni I and would become one of his most successful students. In direct contrast to Hiroshige and Hokusai's peaceful views of a scenic Japan published in the 1830s and ‘40s, the following decades saw a rise in popular taste for the fierce, fearsome and fantastical in ukiyo-e, which Kuniyoshi embraced. In 1814, he left Toyokuni’s studio to pursue a career as an independent artist. Initially, he had little success, selling tatami mats in order to support himself. His fortunes changed in 1827 with his dramatic series 108 Heroes of the Suikoden, and from that point on, he became known for portrayals of famous samurai and legendary heroes. Kuniyoshi also worked in in other print genres, producing landscapes and bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women).

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Group
Group show at a major institution
Dallas Museum of Art
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
Articles Featuring Utagawa Kuniyoshi
How Japanese Prints Inspired a Tattoo Frenzy
Aug 9th, 2019
How Japanese Prints Inspired a Tattoo Frenzy
5 Artists’ Wild Menageries, from Warhol’s Many Pets to Kahlo’s Spider Monkeys
Aug 5th, 2019
5 Artists’ Wild Menageries, from Warhol’s Many Pets to Kahlo’s Spider Monkeys
The Vengeful Female Ghosts in Japanese Ukiyo-e Prints Will Haunt You
Apr 11th, 2019
The Vengeful Female Ghosts in Japanese Ukiyo-e Prints Will Haunt You
Art Meets Taboo in the Tradition of Japanese Tattoos
Mar 11th, 2015
Art Meets Taboo in the Tradition of Japanese Tattoos
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