Search the Collections

Katsushika Hokusai
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
Honjo Wari-Gesui
Death Date: 
Death Place: 
Edo (now Tokyo)
Katsushika Hokusai. Go= [more than 50], incl. Fusenkyo, Hishikawa Sori, Hokusai, Katsukawa Shunro, etc. Leading master of the final century of ukiyo-e. His parentage is uncertain. First apprenticed to a woodblock engraver, at the age of eighteen Hokusai entered the studio of the leading Kabuki artist Katsukawa Shunsho and, early in the following year, he published his first known works, actor prints, under the name Shunro. Influenced by Shigemasa and Kiyonaga as well, Hokusai produced notable figure prints during the 1780's, but his first important prints were done under the name Kako in the mid 1790's. From 1797 he adopted the arist name Hokusai and began his first major period of print and book production. Attracted to many different artistic influences, Hokusai even flirted with Western art briefly and, from about the year 1805, he began a concentrated study of Chinese painting and graphic art, which tended to remove his style from ukiyo-e in a strict sense. Prominent among Hokusai's major productions are his Edo picture books of the early 1800's, the fifteen Manga sketch books published from 1814 onward, the print series Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji (ca.early 1830's) and the three volume One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji (1834- ca. 1835). Hokusai's energy was prodigious, though his work was not at all of equal quality, but at his best he was able to revive the waning grandeur of the ukiyo-e print, as wellas to raise, almost single-handedly, the landscape and flower-and-bird prints to the level of dominant genres in ukiyo-e. Hokusai had many pupils and used a great number of other names.