Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/356

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JAPANESE COLOUR-PRINTS

ventured himself on representations of a great and noble style, on high art proper, and that of itself suffices to assign a subordinate rank to the artist in the judgment of the Japanese, who find no compensation in wit and humour for defects of formal beauty. Literary culture also seems never to have been his forte; and as his success was mainly due to his native talent, so he remained to the last an artisan.[1]

During an activity of more than sixty years—he died in the year 1849, at the age of ninety—he is reputed to have produced some 30,000 sketches and to have illustrated about 500 volumes.

(Katsu­) (shika ) (Hoku­) (sai ) (Shun­) (ro)Katsushika Hokusai was born in Yedo on 5th March 1760, and was adopted in early youth by Nakajima Ise, looking-glass maker to the Tokugawa clan, who lived in the garden-suburb Honjo, on the farther side of the Sumida River, in the district of Katsushika.[2] At the age of twelve he was apprenticed to a bookseller; then from the age of fourteen he studied the art of wood-engraving, and became in 1779 a pupil of Katsukawa Shunsho, as such adopting the name of Katsukawa Shunro. He painted actors and theatrical scenes, illustrated from 1781 many of the small popular books, called Kibiyoshi, from their yellow colour, but was obliged to leave his master in 1786. According to Bing, he then went to Kano Yusen, whom likewise he was soon obliged to leave. In the years 1786–88 he employed the name Gummatei. From 1789, he himself composed many popular
  1. See the just, but in the main unfavourable, judgment of Binyon (p. 247).
  2. Edmond de Goncourt, Hokousaï: Paris, 1896, containing the artist's biography taken from the Ukiyo-ye ruiko, p. ix. ff., which, however, needs frequent correction; S. Bing, "La jeunesse de Hok'sai," La Revue blanche, x. 310 ff. (No. 68, 1 April 1896); wherein is related that Iijima Hanjuro printed in Japan his materials collected on Bing's commission, from which Hayashi made translations in Paris for Goncourt. Anderson Cat., pp. 350, 357 ff.; Fenollosa Cat., Nos. 358388; Strange, p. 60 ff.; Brinckmann, pp. 241272; Duret, Critique d'avant-garde, pp. 191209; and elsewhere. The year of birth is taken from Revon. Fenollosa (Outline, p. 45) gives a good appreciation of the artist.