Page:Japanese Wood Engravings.djvu/68

This page has been validated.

agency to further the cause of industrial art amongst his countrymen, and to make that art known in the rest of the world.

His colour prints published in the first few years of the century are less harmonious than the contemporary works of Shunchō, Utamaro, the older Toyokuni, and some others, and his drawing at this time had faults, especially in the ungainly proportions of his figures, that were greatly amended in his later work in the illustrations to the novels of Bakin and in the Mangwa. It is in the latter, and in the Fugaku hiak'kei, a chef d'œuvre of his declining years, that his virile and animated outlines appear to the greatest advantage. The principal engravers of his works were Égawa Tomikichi and the pupil of the latter, Égawa Santaro.

As a painter he must be studied in such a collection as that brought together by Dr. Bigelow, and recently shown at Boston, U.S. Professor Fenollosa, in his scholarly introduction to the catalogue, pays a high tribute to his qualities as a designer and colourist in the later period of his work, and believes that his defects of education alone prevented the full development of his genius. It must not be overlooked, however, that although a literary and artistic training on the narrow classical lines of his time might have made him a greater painter, there is even more probability that it would have stifled the verve and originality which give the savour to his art, and would have led to a life's work of infinitely less value to the world than that which he has actually given.

He died in 1849 at the advanced age of eighty-nine, retaining his powers almost unimpaired to the very last. With his withdrawal from the scene, came the beginning of the end of the popular school.

He left an artist daughter named Yeijo, and several pupils. Only a few of these, however, Hokkei, Shinsai, Hokujiu, Hokuün, and Isai have left any mark upon the process of wood engraving, and of these the first approached most nearly to the master in vigour and originality. Shinsai is known almost exclusively as a designer of New Year's cards.

Influence of European Art in the Fourth Period.

European art exercised little real influence in this period, but a painter named Shiba Gokan, who flourished in the early years of the nineteenth century, learned a little of the principles of linear perspective