Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/310

This page has been validated.



about snow (the Silver World), a landscape printed in imitation of a Chinese drawing in ink, does Goncourt recognise the direct influence of Sekiyen (Outamaro, p. 4, note). Out of love for his master, Utamaro took at first the cognomen Toyoaki. After having exercised himself sufficiently in painting after the manner of the Kano school, he turned all the more decisively to the national Japanese style, the Ukiyo-ye, which had been brought to its highest perfection by Kiyonaga; from this time dates his independent activity.

(Kita­) (gawa ) (Uta­)麿 (maro) Kitagawa Utamaro, whose real name was Yusuke, was born in 1753 in Kawagoye (not in Yedo), in the province of Musashi, but came to Yedo in early youth.[1] Having served his apprenticeship with Sekiyen and afterwards embraced the style of Kiyonaga, he lived there uninterruptedly with his publisher, Tsutaya Juzaburo until the latter's death in 1797, at first near the principal entrance of the Yoshiwara, the tea-house quarter, where he found the chief inspiration for his creations, then in the centre of the city. He signed himself Toyakira, Yentaisai, Yentoku, and also Murasaki Utamaro. His first productions date from the seventies, and show him still under the influence of Shunsho. He began his career with book-illustrations in black and white. The statement that he refused proudly to produce actor prints, then very popular, refers only to the time of his full development; in the beginning he produced several sheets of this kind of medium size; in fact, Goncourt (page 10, note) refers to a long design in the surimono style representing a play-scene with seventeen actors. In this early time his compositions are still executed in broad liquid brush-work.

After having, as it seems, occupied himself chiefly with painting until about 1780, he turned, in the first half of the ninth

  1. Goncourt, Outamaro, 1891; Bing in the Studio, 1895; Fenollosa Cat., Nos. 305-336; Anderson Cat., p. 345; Cat. Burty, p. 219 ff.; Bing Cat., No. 362 ff.; Cat. Goncourt. The year of birth has been corrected as against Goncourt (1754).