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Artist: Isoda Koryūsai (礒田湖龍斎)

Alternate names:
Haruhiro (go - 春広)
Shōbei (nickname - 庄兵衛)
Isoda Masakatsu (礒田政勝)

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Biography:

Koryūsai flourished from ca. 1764-88.

Timothy Clark in Ukiyo-e Paintings in the British Museum wrote of Koryūsai on page 104:

Clan name Fujiwara; na Masakatsu; common name Shōbei. Probably a retainer (or rōnin) of the Tsuchiya family of Ogawa-chō, Edo. Later lived in Ryōgoku Yagenbori and appended the signature on his prints Bukō Yagenbori inshi ('Samurai recluse of Yagenbori in Edo, Musashi Province'). Earliest prints in the style of Harunobu, of whom he seems to have been a pupil, using the name Haruhiro.j Beginning c. 1777, he designed the extended series of ōban prints of courtesans Hinagata wakana no hatsu moyō (New [Kimono] Patterns for Young Leaves') for the publisher Nishimuraya Eijudō. He was also a prolific designer of pillar prints, and illustrator of books and erotic series.

Koryūsai's first paintings date from the early An'ei era (1772-81), before the fashion for wide 'lantern-locks' (tōrō bin) arrived in Edo from the Kansei region c. 1774, and together with Utagawa Toyoharu he is the grandest and most prolific artist of bijin paintings in the 1770s. Around 1781 he was awarded the rank of Hokkyō, which invariably appears in his signature after this date, and in the following year contributed illustrations, together with Toyoharu, for a waka (classical poetry) anthology, Shōyu gaei ('Elegant Recitations by Friends of the Pine'), privately published by the Tsuchiya family. During the 1780s Koryūsai seems to have given up designing prints to concentrate on paintings, though his last datable work is a calendar print for the New Year, 1788.

The landscape elements that appear in the background to his scrolls give strong of evidence of training in the Edo Kanō style, and he may have been the first Ukiyo-e artist to employ the 'red avoiding' (benigirai) technique of painting in monochrome, in a triptych of mitate paintings of Matsukaze, Murasame and Yukihira... that would appear to date from the 1770s.