Hiroshige II, Forty-eight Famous Views, Fireworks, Ryogoku Bridge

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JG0719MU11-22
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Artist: Hiroshige II Utagawa (1826-1869)
Title: Fireworks Display at Ryogoku Bridge
Series: Forty-eight Famous Views of Edo
Publisher: Tsutaya Kichizo
Date: c. 1860
Size: 18.4 x 25.1 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

 

As with many of Hiroshige II's prints, the prints comprising the series 'Forty-Eight Famous Views of Edo' borrowed compositional elements from his teacher Hiroshige I Utagawa. At this point, he had just started using his teacher's name, who had recently passed away, therefore the prints in this series are signed 'Hiroshige'.

 

The construction of the Ryogoku Bridge in 1659 helped to shape the city of Edo. The name of the bridge translates as 'two countries' and referred to the joining of Musashi and Shimosa Province which were prior separated by the Sumida River. It is often said that Edo was a city of rivers and canals, with travelling by boat a common mode of transport for most classes.

 

Ryogoku Bridge was also a popular spot for fireworks and entertainment in the summer. Crowds would gather on the river shore or on pleasure boats to relax and cool off in the evening after a hot and humid summer day.

Hiroshige II Utagawa (1826 - 1869)


In the genre of Japanese art, Hiroshige II Utagawa was a woodblock print artist best known for continuing the tradition of Hiroshige I Utagawa in producing landscape prints. Born in Edo (today’s Tokyo), many details of his formative years are unknown, except that he became a pupil of Hiroshige I under the name of Shigenobu. Hiroshige II produced a large number of commissioned work in the 1850s in the style of the elder Hiroshige, and often signed his work ‘Ichiryusai mon’ (student of Ichiryusai, another art name of Hiroshige).

He seems to have married Hiroshige’s daughter Otatsu and inherited Hiroshige’s name following his death in 1858. In 1865 he moved from Edo to Yokohama after dissolving his marriage and began using the name Kisai Rissho. During this decade he produced a number of collaborative print series, particularly with Kunisada, who had earlier worked with Hiroshige I.

His works have often been confounded with those of Hiroshige I, resembling them closely in style, subject, and even signature, particularly in series such as ‘One Hundred Famous Views in the Various Provinces’ (1859-61) that echo his master’s ‘Famous Views of the Sixty-odd Provinces’ (1853-56). ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo’ (1856-58), also mainly completed by Hiroshige I, was finished by Hiroshige II following the former’s death. While the signature on this series of prints remain the same, the later designs show stylistic resemblance to those of Hiroshige II. The artist’s other notable series include ‘Eight Views of the Sumida River’ (1861) and ‘Thirty-six Views of the Eastern Capital’ (1861-62).

More Information
Print FormatChuban
ArtistHiroshige II Utagawa (1826 - 1869)
SubjectLandscapes
Size18.4 x 25.1 cm
Condition ReportMinor brown stains and spots. Some thin areas.
publisherTsutaya Kichizo:1820-1890