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Utamaro (1753) (1753 - 1806)

Lot 119: Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806)


March 23, 2004
New York, NY, US

More About this Item


Man seducing a young woman
Signed Utamaro hitsu and sealed Uta and Maro
Hanging scroll; ink, color and gold on silk
21 1/2 x 27 1/2 in. (54.6 x 69.8cm.)

Artist or Maker

Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806)


"The Passionate Art of Kitagawa Utamaro," shown at the following venues:
London, British Museum, 1995.8.31--10.22
Chiba, Chiba City Museum of Art, 1995.11.3--12.10

Yoshida Teruji and Akai Tatsuro, Nikuhitsu ukiyoe gekan (Ukiyo-e paintings, vol. II) (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1963), pl. 49.

Shibui Kiyoshi, ed., Nikuhitsu ukiyoe bijinga shusei I (Ukiyo-e paintings in Japanese Collections, vol. I) (Tokyo: Mainichi shinbunsha, 1983), pl. 8 in Higa section.

Tsuji Nobuo et al., eds., Utamakura, vol.1 of Ukiyoe hizo meihin
shu (Masterpieces of ukiyo-e erotic prints) (Tokyo: Gakushu kenkyusha, 1991), frontispiece.

Asano Shugo and Timothy Clark, The Passionate Art of Kitagawa Utamaro (Tokyo & London: Asahi shinbunsha and British Museum Press, 1995), pl. 13.


Kaneko Fusui, Tokyo


The brusque eroticism of this painting is unusually explicit for a hanging scroll. Asano and Clark suggest that it was a special commission for private enjoyment. They detail the rather disturbing elements of this scene in which a much older man gropes an adolescent girl who has just been making an origami paper bird. The smug expression on the face of the man is jarring opposite the obvious discomfort of the girl. The gnarled plum branch sprouting new buds painted on the screen behind them symbolizes the sexual tension she inspires in her eager suitor. Clark and Asano also remark that the deep palette of this scroll is common to Utamaro's last work after 1800.

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Japanese and Korean Art

March 23, 2004, 12:00 AM EST

New York, NY, US