Eishi Chobunsai

Chobunsai Eishi, also known as Hosoda Eishi, was an ukiyo-e painter and print designer, known primarily for his depictions of tall, thin, graceful beauties. The eldest son of a local Edo samurai official of the Hosoda family, Eishi studied under Kano Michinobu, and served as an official court painter to the shogunate for a number of years. His art-name, Eishi, was granted him by the shogun Tokugawa Ieharu himself. In the mid-1780s, however, Eishi made a dramatic change, and moved from the realm of elite painting to ukiyo-e. His style shows influence from Utamaro, Torii Kiyonaga and others, but bears distinctive elements as well. Eishi's women are tall and slender, a continuation and development of a trend begun by Utamaro and Kiyonaga, and they bear a refinement and grace rarely exceeded by the figures in bijinga by other artists. Around 1798, he quit print designs, and turned his attention more fully to painting. It is said that one of his handscrolls, depicting scenes along the Sumidagawa, so impressed the wealthy patrons for whom it was painted that they presented it at a special showing to the Imperial family. This was an especially rare honor for a plebian ukiyo-e piece, one which perhaps no other ukiyo-e artist ever enjoyed.

Eishi Chobunsai

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