Artist: Hokuei (Osaka School)Subject: Kabuki SceneDate: 1820Medium: Japanese Woodblock PrintSize: Oban design 9.75 x 13.75 inches
The Osaka School was located in an important port city of over 400,000 inhabitants. Distinct, economically and culturally from Edo and Kyoto, it nevertheless enjoyed a vibrant culture and kabuki tradition. Osaka prints were dominated by the chuban head and shoulders format, artists sometimes combining up to ten prints that could be read as a continuous ribbon of images or else seen as single sheets. There were also limited productions of triptychs of stage scenes although these are far less common. Edition sizes were much smaller than in Edo, making the quality of Osaka prints much more consistent. The print scene in Osaka was dominated by Hirosada and justifiably he remains the most well known, being a truly great portraitist even by international standards. There were other artists though of great stature, notably Utagawa Yoshitaki (1841-1899), Hasegawa Sadanobu I (1809-1879) and Utagawa Kunihiro (active 1820-1843).
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