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Kitagawa Utamaro

Utamaro (also rendered as Outamaro), Japanese Artist (1754 (?) -1806)

In Japanese, 喜多川 歌麿

This noted Japanese colorist and printmaker's work influenced the European Impressionists, particularly with his use of partial views with an emphasis on light and shade.

Born as Ichitaro Kitagawa in Kawayoye, Japan, the son of well-known painter Tori-yama Sekiyen (Toyofusa[?]). Changed his name to Kitagawa Utamaro about 1781.

He was known for producing fine landscapes, drawings of insects, and most especially depictions of beautiful women.

His publication Hideyoshi and his 5 Concubines in 1804 landed him in jail for obscenity and libel of the ruling shogunate.

After Utamaro's death, his pupil Koikawa Shuncho continued to produce prints in his mentor's style under Utamaro's name until 1820 (these are sometimes referred to as the work of "Utamaro II". After 1820 the pupil changed his name to Kitagawa Tetsugoro[?] and produced his subsequent work under that name).

Many Utamaro prints reached Europe in the mid and late 19th century, enjoying particular popularity in France.

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