The top half of the image is printed Japanese text. On paper backing, in pencil: exhib. Den. Lib. 2/96-3/96, A Memorial Portrait of Hiroshige, Jo IX 69. On verso, in pencil: Mrs. J. A. Johnson collection.
Artist's seal: Choen ikku. Signed: Omoikiya rakurui nagara Toyokuni ga" (shedding tears while thinking of him Toyokuni). The large seal below Kunisada's signature reads "Choen (Long Smoke) Ikku (Sky)," or "A long trail of smoke towards the sky," in allusion to the cremation of Hiroshige's remains.
Colored ink on paper; woodblock print.
This portrait of Hiroshige was done by his pupil, Kunisada, the year of his master's death. On it is a long inscription, in which occurs the following passage: "At the present time, Hiroshige, Kunisada, and Kuniyoshi are considered the three great masters of Ukiyo-e; no others equal them. Hiroshige was especially noted for landscape."
Hiroshige is represented seated, dressed in a noshimè, a robe worn only by samurai on special occassions, on which is his diamond monogram Hiro, often used by him on printsas a seal below his signature, or introduced into the design.
The complete inscription (written by Temmei Rojin, a famous poet and close friend of Hiroshige) reads: "on the sixth day of Chrysanthemum month (i.e. September) having made a will disposing of all his affairs and written a farewell verse, he started on the mountain road of death, and retired into the forest of the cranes. It is a great loss." Above Kunisada's signature is the date-seal, Horse 9, corresponding to the date in the inscription. Though many copies of this print seem to have been made, it is now very rare.
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