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Ogata Gekko

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Ogata Gekko
Edo Utagawa Printmaker
Japanese, (1859–1920)
Born in Edo Japan, Ogata Gekko's names include Tai or Nagami Masanosuke and go Gekko Kagyosai, Meikyosai, Nen'yu, and Rosai. He took the name Ogata because a descendant of Ogata Korin requested that he inherit the name. He was a self-taught Japanese-style painter, printmaker, illustrator, and decorator of pottery and lacquer. He produced many prints in the late nineteenth century. He had a series entitled "Beauties at Famous Places", 1901-1906, published by Matsuki Keikichi. His "Selections from One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji" won a gold medal at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.

Gekko is not directly comparable to his contemporaries, as far as he was not the heir of the Utagawa school. Even when he represents legendary persons or ancient Japan, beautiful women or actors of the theater kabuki, the originality with regard to ukiyo-e appears at once and it is fair to say that he created his own style. Gekko developed his own style through a personal reading of the art of the former Maruyama and Shijo schools, and its need of pictorial experimentation and independence.

Gekko participated in several international exhibitions where he took prizes; notably in Chicago (1893), Paris (1900), St Louis, Missouri, and London (1910). Japanese had access to his works during numerous exhibitions organized in the his own country. Gekko's works were included in the collections of the Imperial house and the Crown prince. In 1903 the artist achieved considerable success during the Sixth National Exhibition for the Encouragement of the Industry, organized in Osaka. He had become, after the decline of Zeshin and Yoshitoshi at the beginning of 1890's, the most appreciated draftsman of prints in Japan.

He played an important role in the development of several artists' associations, in particular Nihon Bijutsu Kyôkaï, Nihon Seinen Kaïga Kyôkaï, the Academy of Japanese art, and Bunten.

His pupils included Tsukioka Kôgyo (1869-1927), whose mother had married Tsukioka Yoshitoshi in her second marriage.


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