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Eizan (1787 - 1867)

Oiran from Ogiya: Tama River at Ide in Yamashiro

Series: The Six Tama River
Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: c. 1818
Size (H x W): 15.5 x 10 (inches)
Publisher: Yamamotoya Heikichi
Seals: Kiwame (censor seal)
Signature: Kikugawa Eizan hitsu
Condition: Very good color and impression, light soiling around edges, horizontal fold on upper quarter of print


About the artist

A native of Edo, Eizan Kikukawa was born as Toshinobu Omiya in 1787. He began his artistic career studying with his father Eiji Kikukawa, a Kano painter and fan maker, before pursuing printmaking under Hokkei, a pupil of Hokusai. From the start of the 19th century to his retirement, Eizan was leading artist of Japanese bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) and shunga (erotic prints) woodblock prints. After 1830, he worked almost exclusively as a painter until his death in 1867.

Eizan admired and followed in the footsteps of Utamaro, despite the fact that he never trained with him. Working primarily in the genre of bijin-ga, Eizan captures beautiful women with sensibility and lyricism, imbuing them with an elegance and graceful classicality. Though the increased demand for ukiyo-e during the early 19th century caused some artists to rush their designs, Eizan Kikukawa resisted this pressure, maintaining impeccable design skills throughout his career.