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THE ARTIST – TOYOHARU

The famous woodblock print artist, Toyoharu, was the very first artist to take on the Utagawa name, which translates in English to “River of Song”.  Although to him taking on this name seemed logical, he would have no clue as to the descendants that would eventually come out of his art studio.  Keep in mind that when originally founded in the 9th century, the Utagawa School focused teaching on the depiction of Kabuki.  However, another genre was born to include portraits of beautiful women and even warrior prints. 

Interestingly, Toyoharu’s most incredible skill focused on Uki-e, or perspective print.  While many Asian woodblock prints focused primarily on Asian actors and women of beauty, what made Toyoharu’s work so incredible and unique was his ability to take landscapes or landscape objects, coupled with a one-point perspective based on European prints and turn them into something with an Oriental flare. 

To give you an idea, Toyoharu created some beautiful prints that were of exotic countries and cities that he never even visited.  However, in addition to this ability, this artist also painted Edo settings, pleasure quarters, Kabuki theater, and many famous sites in the city of Edo, known as Meisho.  While some of the woodblock prints were created in the traditional style, Toyoharu also produced some with a 3D effect that could be viewed through special lens.  The result was the deep perspective of his paintings being over dramatized.  Toyoharu would take these lens and viewers to street parties and festivals allowing people to view them for a nominal fee. 

While Toyoharu had exceptional success with all of his creations, his primary focus was on Ukiyo-e, along with Bijin prints from the late Harunobu fashion to paintings in a number of styles to include Kiyonaga Utamaro, and Kitao.  With such versatility and flexibility, this artist was able to teach some of his students to go with the flow and be sensitive to opportunities that might be considered “out of the norm.” 

Many talented woodblock painters were taught in the Utagawa School.  For instance, two of the most prominent students to graduate with their own unique flavor for art were Toyokuni and Toyohiro.  Today, if you can get your hands on any of these three artist’s work, you would be the proud owner of amazing woodblock prints or paintings that have a wonderful European perspective, something you typically would not see with this form or art.


Read more about Japanese Woodblock Prints:
  Japanese Woodblock Prints   Ukiyo-e   Toyokuni Utagawa   Eisen Kikugawa   Hiroshige Ando   Utamaro Kitigawa

 

Visit our online store for dozens of Japanese Woodblock Prints

Click here to see our current selection.
 
The Great Wave by Hokusai
The Great Wave by Hokusai
Code:fw1002
Price:$27.95
Kabuki by Utagawa
Kabuki by Utagawa
Code:fw1121
Price:$27.95
3 Beauties by Utamaro
3 Beauties by Utamaro
Code:fw1118
Price:$27.95
General in Battle by Utagawa
General in Battle by Utagawa
Code:fw1120
Price:$27.95
Mt Fuji by Hiroshige
Mt Fuji by Hiroshige
Code:fw1010
Price:$27.95
 

 


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