Japanese Woodblock Print, 1920s, published by Hasegawa

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Japanese Woodblock Print, 1920s, published by Hasegawa

Size with out frame 7.5 x 10 cm

Size framed 25 x 19 cm

PROVENANCE: From the Robert O. Muller estate.

HIROSHIGE was born in old Edo (present-day Tokyo) in 1797, during the latter part of the Edo period (1603-1868). He was the son of Andou Gen'emon, a fire watchman in the famed Edo Fire Brigade. His childhood name, Tokutaro, was changed to Juemon upon reaching adulthood, and changed again when he was fifty to Tokubei. Hiroshige was his "studio surname", bestowed upon him by his painting master Toyohiro when young Hiroshige was fifteen and had just entered his master's school. Hiroshige was orphaned in his twelfth year and succeeded to his father's post as fireman, studying painting all the while. For fourteen years, until he was twenty-six, he was both fireman and painting apprentice. In 1823, he gave up his fire brigade duties, passing them on to his brother Nakajiro, and devoted himself full time to painting. At the age of eleven he produced a picture, Ryukyuans in Edo which attracted attention. He aspired to enter the studio of the noted actor-portrait painter Toyokuni, but there were no vacancies in that currently fashionable school and Hiroshige had to be satisfied with studying at the studio of the less famous, less sought-after, Toyohiro. This turned out to be fortunate; had he studied under Toyokuni, he undoubtedly would have become just another portrait painter. Studying under the more versatile Toyohiro, Hiroshige became interested in landscape painting, a field which had no popular appeal at the time.