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Artist: Toyohara Chikanobu (豊原周延)

Alternate names:
Yōshū Chikanobu

Lifetime: 1838 - 1912

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Biography:

"Hashimoto Tadayoshi [1838-1912] was born in Echigo province (present-day Niigata prefecture), the son of a minor shogunal retainer. Initially he was trained in Kanō school painting and after going to the capital in 1875, he studied with the Utagawa masters Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) and Kunisada (1786-1864), and finally with Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900). He received his artist's name from Kunichika (he is also known as Toyohara Chikanobu). While Chikanobu's artistic activity began in the Bunkyū era (1861-4), he made his artistic reputation in the 1880s with triptychs printed in harsh aniline dyes illustrating the political events of the first decades of the Meiji period, depictions of the imperial family, and customs and manners of a changing Japan. These prints corresponded to a period generally referred to as the Rokumeikan era (1884-9). The name 'Rokumeikan' ('Deer-cry pavilion') referred to a western-style building that was designed by Josiah Conder (1852-1920). Serving as the venue for soirees between upper-class aristocratic Japanese and westerners, it became a symbol of the policy of bunmei kaika ('civilisation and enlightenment') that was adopted by the government in its efforts towards modernisation. Fashionable women of the Rokumeikan era - encouraged even by the Empress herself - began to dress in gabled bonnets, elaborate bustles and mantelets. Many of Chikanobu's triptychs of the 1880s and 1890s are important historical documents for the use of western-style fashions and their interpretation by Japanese print artists. Like many of his contemporaries he also produced war triptychs of the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-5."

Quoted from: The New Wave: Twentieth-century Japanese prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection, pp. 79-80.