Utagawa Hiroshige I (1797-1858)

Ando Tokutaro was born in Edo, now Tokyo, and took the pseudonym Hiroshige at the age of fifteen. Having completing his apprenticeship under printer Utagawa Toyohiro, he added his teacher’s name to show he belonged to the prestigious Utagawa school of ukiyo-e woodblock printing. This genre features the so-called floating world of Japan’s brothels and theatres. Hiroshige is said to have been inspired to take up printing after seeing work by his slightly older contemporary Hokusai. Whether that is what really happened is unclear, certainly however Hiroshige’s work draws considerably on Hokusai’s style. Hiroshige made his name with series of landscape prints, including his Hundred Famous Views of Edo. Hiroshige’s woodcuts were published in large numbers and had a profound impact on other printmakers. In the West, work by Hiroshige was popular among artists and collectors of the late 19th centry, including Van Gogh and Gauguin.

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