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Utagawa Kunisada

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Utagawa Kunisada

Japanese, (1786–1864)
Utagawa Kunisada (Japanese: 歌川 国貞), also known as Utagawa Toyokuni III (三代 歌川 豊国, Sandai Utagawa Toyokuni), was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist. He is considered the most popular, prolific and commercially successful designer of ukiyo-e woodblock prints in 19th-century Japan. In his own time, his reputation far exceeded that of his contemporaries, Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi. Almost from the first day of his activity, and even at the time of his death in 1865, Kunisada was a trendsetter in the art of the Japanese woodblock print. Following the traditional pattern of the Utagawa school, Kunisada's main occupation was kabuki and actor prints. From 1820 to 1860 he likewise dominated the market for portraits of sumo wrestlers. For a long time (1835–1850) he had an almost complete monopoly on the genre of prints related to The Tale of Genji; it was only after 1850 that other artists began to produce similar designs.

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