Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/226

This page has been validated.

CHAPTER V

THE FIRST FLOWERING OF THE POLYCHROME

1. Harunobu—2. Shigemasa—3. Shunsho

(Sazu­) (ki ) (Haru­) (nobu)1. Harunobu.—Suzuki Harunobu, the inventor of the poly-chrome print, was a pupil of that Shigenaga who, in the beginning of the forties, had founded two-colour printing, and towards the end of the fifties, very likely three-colour printing also; but it has already been pointed out that he took his subjects of female life which made him so famous, from the older masters, Shunsui and Tsunemasa (Tokio Catalogue). In Professor Jaekel's opinion (conveyed to me in a letter) he connects in his older books immediately with Toyonobu, who had already fully developed that graceful female type which attracts us so greatly in the youthful work of Harunobu. In his later prints, on the other hand, the influence of Kiyomitsu makes itself felt.

His life extended from 1718 to 1770, and, according to the Tokio Catalogue (Introd., p. iv.), he stood at the head of a group of artists which apparently styled itself Kiosen. The master himself seems also to have employed this name.[1] Harunobu, who lived in Yedo, began his activity as early as the fifties, first with two-, then with three-colour prints; but it was not until he had brought the latter to perfection, and had thus found the connecting link with the true polychrome print, that, from the

  1. Fenollosa Cat., Nos. 96, 98, 109, 117-133, 142; Anderson Cat, p. 342; Strange, p. 29; Cat. Burty, No. 178 f. The biographical dates are taken from the Hayashi Cat.

100