Utagawa Hiroshige’s Legacy

Utagawa Hiroshige II (Japanese, 1826-1869)
Kintai Bridge at Iwakuni in Suō Province, from One Hundred Famous Views of the Various Provinces, 1859
Color woodblock print
Gift of the Rodbell Family Collection, 2014.16.17

Utagawa Hiroshige was a member of the Utagawa School. Founded by Utagawa Toyohiro, its members included a diverse range of nineteenth-century artists who were both numerous and prolific, creating more than half of all known surviving ukiyo-e prints. Because the ukiyo-e artist typically assumed the name of his school, several artists with the first name Utagawa created prints during the nineteenth century.

Utagawa Hiroshige II was Hiroshige’s pupil. He inherited the name Hiroshige following the death of his teacher, whose daughter, Otatsu, he married. Known for his depictions of landscapes and travel, Hiroshige II swiftly established himself as a worthy heir to Hiroshige’s legacy. However, in 1865 Hiroshige II divorced Otatsu, and, when he moved from Edo to Yokohama, he assumed the name Kisai Risshō.

Utagawa Hirokage was another student of Hiroshige I. Though he was only active for a ten-year period, from about 1855–1865, his renowned series Comical Views of Famous Places in Edo displays his talent for human caricature and detailed landscape views.