Artist Spotlight: Katsushika Hokusai

Artist Spotlight: Katsushika Hokusai

PopUp Painting’s artist of the week is Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)

Katsushika Hokusai was a Japanese painter and printmaker from (now called Tokyo), Japan. During his life, Hokusai produced tens of thousands of prints, paintings, and illustrations. Hokusai’s images were usually took inspiration from the Japanese countryside, its people and legends.

Hokusai had a long career, but he produced most of his important work after age 60.

His most popular work is the ‘ukiyo-e’ series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which was created between 1826 and 1833. One of these views, “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa,” has become a modern-day icon.

The series consists of 46 prints (10 of them added after publication). This body of work transformed his work from a style of portraiture focused on the courtesans and actors popular during the Edo Period in Japan’s cities into a much broader style of art that focused on landscapes, plants, and animals.

The largest of Hokusai’s works is the 15-volume collection Hokusai Manga, a book crammed with nearly 4,000 sketches that was published in 1814.

These sketches are often incorrectly considered the precedent to modern manga, as Hokusai’s Manga is a collection of sketches (of animals, people, objects, etc.), different from the story-based comic-book style of modern manga. Hokusai’s seemingly timeless images are almost 200 years old.

Hokusai’s prints influenced many western artists, including Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec.

We will be featuring Katsushika Hokusai’s work all week on our Facebook and Twitter pages, but in the meantime hereare some of our favourite works by the artist:


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