Utagawa Kunisada (Japanese, 1786–1865)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Utagawa Kunisada, 1786–1865 was Japanese artist who was probably the most prolific of all printmakers of the ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”). Kunisada was a trendsetter in the art of the Japanese woodblock print. Kunisada produced between 20,000 and 25,000 designs for woodblock prints during his lifetime (i.e. 35,000 to 40,000 individual sheets). Following the traditional pattern of the Utagawa school, Kunisada's main occupation was kabuki and actor prints. He was also highly active in the area of bijin-ga (beautiful women). In 1840sand 1850s, Kunisada collaborated with both Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi in three major series as well as on a number of smaller projects. Notable students of Kunisada included Toyohara Kunichika, Utagawa Sadahide and Utagawa Kunisada II.