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Utagawa Toyokuni

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Utagawa Toyokuni
Edo Utagawa Woodblock print
Japanese, (1769–1825) Kumaemon, Kumakichi. Go: Ichiyosai.
Utagawa Toyokuni was an Ukiyo-e painter and printmaker, who lived and worked in Edo. He was the son of a sculptor of puppets, and the chief pupil of Utagawa Toyoharu (1733-1814). Toyokuni was influenced by almost every well-known contemporary print artist. His most typical work consisted of studies of women, and, after the death of Utamaro, actor prints in which he showed the actors both in their stage lives and in private life. He also illustrated books by Santo Kyoden and other writers. He was a most prominent and popular member of the Utagawa school, but his work was of uneven quality, and from about 1805 began to show a marked and rapid decline. Toyokuni was said to have been the originator of "azuma nishiki-e." A brilliant draftsman and designer, who had innumerable followers, who carried the art, though in a very debased form, to modern times. Toyokuni was a prolific artist, and much of his work survives today.

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