Yellowtail (Inada) and Blowfish (Fugu) with Plum blossoms

Utagawa Hiroshige
1797 - 1858
Yellowtail (Inada) and Blowfish (Fugu) with Plum blossoms
1840-1842
Woodblock print, nishiki-e
Horizontal Oban, 247 x 386 mm

Signed: Hiroshige hitsu
Publisher: Yamadaya Shôjirô
Series: from the so called Large Fishes
            Uozukushi


Fine impression of the rare first edition with the block defect showing a white area beneath the fugu’s tail, mica powder, fine colour, pristine condition.
Two impressions of this print are at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: accession number 11.17172, 21.9615; another is preserved at the British Museum, 1902,0212,0.386.

On the Large Fishes series see: R. Kruml, Hiroshige, a shoal of red herrings, in Andon no. 49 (1994); on this print see no.14 p. 33.

 

Born in Edo in 1797, Hiroshige whilst still a teenager, was allowed to work in the studio of Utagawa Toyohiro, an artist with a preference for classical and landscape subjects. He studied also Nanga painting under the artist Ooka Umpo. In the 1812 he adopted the name Hiroshige. The first prints to be published under this name were images of beautiful women, a few surimono and landscapes in small format. In 1831 Hiroshige designed a successful series of Sights of Edo. In 1832 he accompanied the annual procession from Edo to the emperor in Kyoto along the Tokaido. During the journey, he sketched the scenes which he later put into the fifty-five prints which made up the celebrated series of views of the fifty-three post stations on the route. The series was revolutionary, the scenes had a naturalness and sense of immediacy that provoked instant popular appeal. This established Hiroshige as the painter of Tokaido scenes and, subsequently, he produced some thirty series on the same theme. Many highly successful landscape series would follow such as the Sixty-nine Stages on the Kiso Highway, the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, the Thirty six Views of Mount Fuji. In his declining years, in addition to landscapes, he created an unique style in depicting birds and flowers.


Other works of the master