Portrait of a Courtesan Walking

Maker(s)
Artist: Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760-1849)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1815-1819
School
Ukiyo-e
Medium
Ink, color, and gold on silk
Dimensions
H x W (image): 110.4 x 41.8 cm (43 7/16 x 16 7/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1954.119
On View Location
Freer Gallery 07: Hokusai: Mad About Painting
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Hanging scroll

Keywords
courtesan, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, portrait, ukiyo-e, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

Dressed in brilliantly decorated, billowing robes, a courtesan struts forward, lifting her skirt to expose her lacquered platform shoe (geta).  The energetic, mannered contour lines in this painting are characteristic of Hokusai's work during the decade after 1810, when he used the artistic name "Taito," with which he signed this painting. Hokusai's painting style evolved markedly during his long and productive career; this work is significantly different from "Courtesan" (see F1903.129), which he painted about two decades earlier.  In the earlier painting, the kimono flows over the woman's body, emphasizing her elongated form, whereas in this image, voluminous layers of kimono form a striking and dominant pattern of color and line.

Published References
  • Ukiyo-e Shuka. 19 vols., Tokyo, 1978-1985. cat. 113.
  • James Randolph. Freer Gallery Houses Fabulous Art. vol. 7, no. 79 Tokyo and Sydney, July 1956. cover, p. 23.
  • Jack Hillier. Hokusai Drawings. London. .
  • H. Batterson Boger. The Traditional Arts of Japan: A Complete Illustrated Guide. Garden City. pl. 5.
  • Harold P. Stern. Hokusai: Paintings and Drawings in the Freer Gallery of Art. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 4, 5, p. 16.
  • Ann Yonemura. Hokusai: Volume One. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 15, p. 20.
  • Ann Yonemura, Nagata Seiji, Kobayashi Tadashi, Asano Shugo, Timothy Clark, Naito Masatoshi. Hokusai: Volume Two. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 68, p. 31, 70.
  • Ukiyo-e Gallery. multi-volumed, Tokyo. pp. 49, 53.
  • Harold P. Stern. Ukiyo-e Painting: Freer Gallery of Art Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington and Baltimore, 1973. cat. 87, pp. 238-239.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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