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Shunsho Katsukawa

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Shunsho
Edo Ukiyoe painter
Japanese, (1726–1792)
Ukiyo-e painter, printmaker. Lived in Edo. First studied under the painters Katsukawa Shunsui and Ko Sakoku; then turned to prints. Little known about his personal life; taught many pupils, including Shuncho, Shundo, Shun'ei, Shunjo, Shunko, Shunzan, Hokusai (all these artists with "Shun" in their names—Hokusai changed his later—are usually grouped as the Katsukawa school). He used a seal on which the name Hayashi appears as inscribed on the side of a jar (tsubo), hence called Tsubo. A considerable number of his paintings are extant, usually of genre scenes peopled with bijin. Abandoning the tradition of a school that had kept entirely to painting, began to design color prints and became one of the great ukiyo-e print designers. At first much influenced by Harunobu, but his great contribution came with his prints of actors (which are among the finest of his day) and, occasionally, of wrestlers. Done as hosoban, the actors were represented both on the stage in their leading roles and in their dressing rooms, with individual features given to each actor. In 1776, with Kitao Shigemasa, illustrated the famous book Seiro Bijin Awase Sugata Kagami (Mirror of Beautiful Women of the Green Houses). A prolific and popular artist, one of the most important of his period, he dominated the actor-print field in his time. Level of his work very high—though there are some monotonous and uninspired prints—with subtle overall designs and striking color combinations. A painter of power and delicacy. -- Roberts, L. Dictionary of Japanese Artists (1980)


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