Kyosai Kawanabe, Ducks Catch a Lizard

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CMAP44
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Artist: Kyosai Kawanabe (1831-1889)
Title: Ducks Catch A Lizard
Series title: Kyosai's Drawings for Pleasure (Kyosai Rakuga)
Publisher: Morita Tetsugoro / Takeda Den'emon
Date: 1881
Size: 21.5 x 27.7 cm

絵師:河鍋暁斎
題名:暁斎楽画 鴨と蜥蜴
年代:明治14年

Original Japanese woodblock print.

Kyosai Kawanabe


Kyosai was born in Shimosa province to a samurai family in the Edo period. He studied as a child under Kuniyoshi Utagawa, then later in the Kano school. His distinguished painting, largely in the late-Kano manner, includes some excellent bird studies and is often marked by a wild, eccentric humour. He left many lively sketches of great dexterity of draughtsmanship. He was also a skilled woodblock print artist, some of his most iconic ukiyo-e prints included ravens, in a bold, simple style, and caricatures full of fantasy and invention. His work mirrored his life in its wild and undisciplined nature, and occasionally reflected his love of drink. He compensated with a fantastic exuberance, which always lent interest to his technically excellent drawing skills.

Although Kyosai was not a pupil of Hokusai, many consider him his successor. There is a similar sense of frenetic movement and playful within both artists work, but where Hokusai can convey quiet reverence, Kyosai’s work leant into chaos, caricature and comedy.

Kyosai exhibited at the Vienna International Exposition in 1873 and in Paris in 1883. He continues to be popular among contemporary audiences globally, and is well sought after in the Japanese antiques market.

More Information
Print FormatChuban
ArtistKyosai Kawanabe
SubjectAnimal & Birds
Dimensions21.5 x 27.7 cm
Condition ReportVertical centrefold, slight rubbing, minor creasing, paper residue on back.