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Harunobu (1724 - 1770)

While Taking an Afternoon Nap

Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: c. 1760
Size (H x W): 7.5 x 10 (inches)
Signature: Most shunga were unsigned, therefore the artist is attributed
Condition: Very good color and impression, light soiling and wear, embellished with oxidation.


About the artist

While little is known about his early life, Harunobu Suzuki (né Hozumi) was a ukiyo-e woodblock print artist that lived and worked in Edo. Said to have been the student of Shigenaga, Harunobu’s early actor prints suggest the strong influence of Toyonobu, Sukenobu and the Torii school. Though he began his print career with actor prints, Harunobu's later prints focused on young girls and the tantalizing courtesans of Edo. In the spring of 1765, Edo saw the first nishiki-e (full-color prints). Commissioned by wealthy patrons, the first full-color prints took the form of egoyomi (calendar prints). Intricate and lavish, these private Harunobu Suzuki prints were soon released in separate, public editions through publishers and booksellers. Harunobu Suzuki used nishiki-e to capture the urban, everyday world of Edo in brilliant color. He is considered a true luminary of ukiyo-e, a talent beyond compare. He produced over 500 printed works, as well as many paintings, before his death in 1770. From shunga (erotic prints) to classical poems, he is a master of color. Harunobu Suzuki’s genius is particularly apparent in his depictions of young women. Presenting a delicate, youthful vision of idealized femininity, he is an ukiyo-e artist that influenced many artists to come.