Showcase: Hokusai

“From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie.”

Katsushika Hokusai, self-portrait, 1839

Katsushika Hokusai (c. October 31, 1760 – May 10, 1849) was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter, and printmaker of the Edo period.

Born in Edo (modern day Tokyo), Hokusai is best known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which includes the iconic print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Fun fact: Hokusai was known by at least thirty different names during his lifetime. While the use of multiple names was a common practice among Japanese artists back in the day, his number of pseudonyms far exceeds that of any other Japanese artist.

Fine Wind, Clear Morning

Fine Wind, Clear Morning, along with Hokusai’s other print from his acclaimed Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, are perhaps the most widely recognized pieces of Japanese art in the world, both being superb examples of the Japanese art of Ukiyo-e, “pictures of the floating world”.

Ocean Waves

He influenced Art Nouveau, or Jugendstil in Germany, and Impressionist artists such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gaguin, Gustav Klimt, or Vincent van Gogh.

To purchase prints of these artworks check out our e-store here.

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