Sadanobu commenced his artistic career as the student of Shijo painter Kocho Ueda, yet turned to printmaking and the tutelage of Sadamasu in the 1830s. He later studied with Kunimasu and by 1840, Sadanobu was an active Osaka artist. Completing his first work 1836, Sadanobu produced chuban (half-size) bust portraits and multi-sheet prints of Kabuki actors. In 1843, he was adopted into the family of Kihei Tenmaya, the owner of the Tenki publishing firm. This arrangement was short lived, and Sadanobu left the family in 1844.
While successful in the yakusha-e (actor prints) genre, after 1848 Sadanobu focused on meisho-e (famous place pictures) depicting his native Osaka. He worked largely with the publisher Wataki, echoing Hiroshige’s distinct style and composition. Sadanobu also enjoyed a lasting relationship with Hirosada, and it is possible that used some of his drawings for designs around 1850. Though Sadanobu passed away in 1879, his descendants carried his legacy well into the 20th century, with Sadanobu V acting as head of the school in the 1970s.