Utagawa Kunimasa (1773-1810)
Biography of Utagawa Kunimasa
Utagawa Kunimasa( 1773 – December 26, 1810) was a Japanese ukiyo-e printmaker and student of Utagawa Toyokuni. Originally from Aizu in Iwashiro province, he first worked in a dye shop upon arriving in Edo (now Tokyo). It was there that he was noticed by Toyokuni, to whom he became apprenticed.
Kunimasa is especially known for his yakusha-e prints (portraits of kabuki actors) and for his bijinga pictures of beautiful women). His style is said to strive to “combine the intensity of Sharaku with the decorative pageantry of his master Toyokuni”. However, those who make the comparison often say he failed to achieve the level of Sharaku’s intensity.
His first prints date from 1795. Outstanding among his works are his actor portraits, in which he attempted to combine the intensity of Sharaku with the decorative grace of his teacher Toyokuni.