Prints from Japan

Immerse yourself in the world of Japanese art with our selection of prints from some of the greatest artists in history. From Hokusai to Hiroshige, explore the iconic styles and techniques that define this timeless genre.


  • Hasui Kawase

    Kawase Hasui is widely considered one of the greatest Japanese artists of the 20th century, and our reproduction prints bring his stunning creations to life in stunning detail. Discover the artistry and creativity of Hasui's work, with each print reflecting his deep appreciation for nature and the world around us.

  • Katsushika Hokusai

    Katsushika Hokusai, is an 18th century Japanese painter, draftsman and engraver, specialist in ukiyo-e, as well as author of popular writings, especially known under the name of Hokusai, or his nickname of Gakyōjin, literally "Old Fool of drawing ".

    During his seventy-year career he produced a considerable body of work of some 3,000 color prints, illustrations for over 200 books, hundreds of drawings and over 1,000 paintings. He quickly abandoned the narrow subject matter traditionally associated with the "floating world" (ukiyo-e) school of which he was a part, such as images of popular actors and courtesans.

    The Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (1831 – 1833) actually numbering 46 prints, of which The Great Wave off Kanagawa (1831) are his best-known works.

    His work influenced many European artists, in particular Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley, and more broadly the artistic movement called Japonism.

  • Utagawa Kunisada

    Utagawa Kunisada was born in Edo in 1786. His father, who died the following year, was an amateur poet of little repute. After showing a strong predilection for art (he copied the drawings of kabuki actors), he was accepted around 1800 as an apprentice by one of the greatest masters of drawing on a wooden board, Toyokuni, receiving at that time the name "gō".

    He began by making prints of actors, a specialty of the Utagawa school, quickly abandoned for bijin-ga. He also painted landscapes and warriors, but although his beginnings in this field were promising, he never did much. He also produced a large number of shunga (erotic engravings), before the reforms of the Tenpō era took place in 1842.

    In 1844-1845, Kunisada Utagawa changed his artist name, taking the name of his master, Toyokuni, and thus became Toyokuni III.

    He sometimes collaborated with Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi on series of prints made in the 1840s and 1850s, when Japan was in the midst of a period of expansion and woodblock prints were in great demand. At this time, he was at the height of his career and dominated the market for prints of kabuki and genji actors, also making large numbers of bijin-ga and sumo-e paintings. It is estimated that he completed over 20,000 works during his lifetime.

    He died after his two major contemporaries, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi, who died in 1858 and 1861 respectively. His last years were marked by a qualitative renewal: his series were much more inspired and stood out from most of his earlier mass-produced works. He died in Edo after training several students such as Toyohara Kunichika and Utagawa Kunisada II.

  • Koson Ohara

    He was born in 1877 in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture as Ohara Matao. He studied painting and drawing with Suzuki Koson, whose name he later adopted.

    He began with illustrations of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905. It was the time when the art of traditional prints (Ukiyo-e) was no longer in vogue, replaced by photography. Many artists of those years had great success with these war prints. Koson was then a teacher at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts where an American colleague, Ernest Fenellosa (1853-1908) persuaded him to return to printmaking in the traditional style. His early flower and bird prints were published by Daikokuya (Matsuki Heikichi), Kokkeido (Akiyama Buemon), and Nishinomiya Yosaku.

    From 1912, he devoted himself to painting under the name "Shoson" and only returned to printmaking in 1926 with the publisher Watanabe Shosaburo, the initiator of the Shin Hanga movement (or pictorial revival). Most of these prints were exported to the American market.

    Koson's prints are close to watercolors and made with the greatest care, with great attention to detail, especially on the feathers.

    Ohara Koson used different seals and signatures during his career and it is very difficult to date his works precisely. Prints made after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 generally have brighter colors than his early works. Some were printed with different color variations.

  • Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

    He was born in Edo in 1839. His father was a wealthy trader who had made his way to samurai status, but Yoshitoshi left home at the age of 3 to live with his uncle, a pharmacist who loved him dearly. .

    His real name Owariya Yonejiro, he was renamed Yoshitoshi by his master Kuniyoshi, one of the greatest masters of Japanese prints, from whom he acquired all his knowledge from the age of 11 in 1850. Although he did not is not considered Kuniyoshi's successor during his lifetime, he is now recognized as his main student.

    Yoshitoshi's first painting appeared in 1853, then he produced nothing new for a long time, this may be due to the illness contracted by his master Kuniyoshi during his last years. Although his life was difficult after Kuniyoshi's death in 1861, he worked hard; 44 works were known in 1862.

    In his early works, there are a good number of extremely violent and morbid scenes, perhaps reflecting the anarchy and violence of Japan all around him, which had happened simultaneously with the collapse of the feudal system. established by the Tokugawa shoguns as well as the impact of the West. During this period, his notoriety continued to grow, and, from 1869, he was considered one of the best painters of prints in Japan.

    In 1873 he began to produce many works. Newspapers suddenly appeared in the wake of modernization, and Yoshitoshi was hired to produce paintings in one of them.

    From then on, the art of prints was in a difficult situation. All the great printmakers of the first half of the century, Hiroshige, Kunisada Utagawa, and Kuniyoshi, were dead, and this art form was dying out in the confusion of Japanese modernism. Yoshitoshi insisted on high production standards and helped to temporarily save it from degeneration.

    The last years of his life were among the most productive, with his great series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon (1885-1892), and New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts (1889-1892), as well as some masterful triptychs on actors and Kabuki theater scenes.

    During this period he also cooperated with his friend, the actor Danjūrō, and others in an attempt to rescue some of the traditional Japanese arts.

  • Utagawa Hiroshige

    Utagawa Hiroshige, whose birth name is Hiroshige Ando, ​​born in 1797 in Edo and died on October 12, 1858 in Edo, is a Japanese designer, engraver and painter. It is distinguished by series of prints on Mount Fuji and Edo, evocatively drawing the landscapes and atmosphere of the city, taking up moments of daily life in the city before its transformation in the Meiji era. (1868-1912).

    A prolific author, active between 1818 and 1858, he created a body of work made up of more than 5,400 prints.

    He is with Hokusai, with whom he is often compared, one of the last very great names in ukiyo-e and, in particular, in landscape printing, which he will have taken to an unequaled peak before the decline xylography in Japan.

    His most famous series, the Hundred Views of Edo, The Sixty-nine Stations of Kiso Kaidō and especially The Fifty-three Stations of Tōkaidō, rival in notoriety Hokusai's famous series, The Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji ( which is probably the most famous Japanese print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa).

    However, Hiroshige's style is quite different from Hokusai's.

    Hiroshige makes himself the humble interpreter of nature, who, using the crude means of wood engraving, knows how to express as through "an enchanted window" the delicate transparencies of the atmosphere over the seasons, in landscapes where man is always present. The composition of his works is striking, characterized by a subtle mastery of bold colors – with a dominance of green and blue. His sense of the foreground will be taken up later by Degas, and we will find it in photography.

    Shortly after the forced reopening of Japan to exchanges with the West, it was mainly through the work of Hiroshige that around 1870 the world discovered the astonishing originality of the graphic arts in this country. Japonism will have a determining influence on the impressionist painters and then on Art Nouveau.

  • Kitagawa Utamaro

    Kitagawa Utamaro (喜多川 歌麿) c. 1753 - October 31, 1806 was a Japanese painter, specializing in ukiyo-e. He is particularly known for his depictions of beautiful women (bijin-ga), but his work also includes many nature and animal scenes, as well as erotic albums (shunga).

    His work reached the West in the 19th century where it met with great success. He particularly influenced the Impressionists with his bold framing and the graphic design of his prints. He was then known as "Outamaro," a transposition according to the French spelling of the pronunciation of his name (a spelling that was adopted at the time in some other Western countries).

    He was nicknamed in 1891 by Edmond de Goncourt "the painter of green houses" (brothels), even though only a third of the very many prints known to be by him were actually devoted to the Yoshiwara (source wikidépia).

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