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The Great Wave off Kanagawa (1832), by Hokusai
The Great Wave off Kanagawa (1832), by Hokusai

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Katsushika Hokusai, (1760—1849), was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period, best-known for his woodblock prints The Great Wave off Kanagawa and The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife. His work was of influence to French artists who appreciated it as Japonisme.


In his time he was Japan's leading expert on Chinese painting. Born in Edo (now Tokyo), Hokusai is best-known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, (c. 1831), which includes the iconic and internationally-recognized print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Hokusai created the ‘Thirty-Six Views’ both as a response to a domestic travel boom and as part of a personal obsession with Mount Fuji. It was this series, specifically ‘The Great Wave’ print and , that secured Hokusai’s fame both within Japan and overseas. As Lane concludes, “Indeed, if there is one work that made Hokusai’s name, both in Japan and abroad, it must be this monumental print-series...” . While Hokusai’s work prior to this series is certainly important, it was not until this series that he gained broad recognition and left a lasting impact on the art world. Indeed, it was ‘The Great Wave’ print that initially received, and continues to receive, acclaim and popularity in the Western world. Hokusai is considered one of the outstanding figures of Japanese woodblock printing, sometimes referred to as ukiyo-e.

Listing of Selected Works

The following is a selected list of Hokusai's works, listed chronologically. Each of these works has been mentioned or used as an illustration by one of Hokusai's biographers, and is either representative of Hokusai's best work or of specific periods in the development of his art.

  • Lady and Attendants (c. 1779) Painting on silk
  • Asakusa Shrine, Edo (c. 1780) Wood-block print
  • Four Courtesans of the House of Chojiya (1782) Wood-block print
  • Seyawa Kikujuro Acting Woman's Part (1783) Wood-block print
  • Actor Danjurō (1784) Wood-block print
  • Chinese Boys at Play (1789) Wood-block print
  • Attack on Moranoa's Castle from Chusingura (1789–1806) Wood-block print
  • A Ferryboat with Passengers Bearing New Year's Gifts (c. 1800) Surinomo
  • Portrait of the Artist from The Tactics of General Oven (1800) Wood-block print in novel
  • Amusements of the Eastern Capital (1800–1802) Wood-block print series
  • Shower at Shin-Yangi Bridge from Both Banks of the Sumida River (1803) Wood-block print in guidebook
  • Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road (1806) Wood-block print series
  • Chinese Tortures from Bakin's Cruelties of Dobki (1807) Wood-block print in novel
  • Quick Lessons on Simplified Drawing (1812) Illustrated guidebook
  • Hokusai Manga (1814–1834) Sketched illustrations, 15 volumes
  • Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (1823–1829) Wood-block print series
  • Painting in Three Forms (1816) Illustrated guidebook
  • The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife(1820) Famous erotic wood block print
  • Designs with a single stroke of the brush (1823) Illustrated guidebook
  • A Tour of the Waterfalls of the Provinces (1827–1830) Wood-block print series
  • Unusual Views of Celebrated Bridges in the Provinces (1827–1830) Wood-block print series
  • Small Flowers (1830) Wood-block print series
  • Large Flowers (Hokusai) (1830) Wood-block print series
  • Oceans of Wisdom (1833) Wood-block print series
  • One-Hundred Views of Mount Fuji (Hokusai) (1834)
  • Book of Warriors (1836) Wood-block print series
  • Self-Portrait (1839) Drawing
  • Willow and Young Crows (1842) Painting on silk
  • A Wood Gatherer (1849) Painting on silk

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hokusai" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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