Toyohara Kunichika

Japan 1835-1900 (Edo-Meiji Period)

Toyohara is a Japanese woodblock artist who lived both in the peaceful, pleasure -seeking Edo- as well as in the modern Meiji periods. It was in the Meiji Period that Japan opened up to Western influence and technology.

Toyohara’s woodblock prints are in the Ukiyo-e tradition showing “Pictures of the Floating World”, the cities’ pleasure districts and show scenes from the Kabuki theatre, geishas. Toyohara was taught by masters of the genre and had considerable success during his lifetime. He is considered one of the last representatives of the famous ukiyo-e tradition.

Japanese woodblock prints were extremely influential to artists of the Classic Modern Movement. Their influence is clearly noticeable in the works of Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh and the German Expressionists.

“Woodblock prints are a type if woodcut printed from several blocks, each carrying a separate colour and fitted together to make the complete design, with one colour sometimes overlapping another to give still greater variety and hue. The best examples are Ukiyo-e prints.”
(TheThames and Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms)


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