HIROSHIGE Ando (1797 - 1858)
Hiroshige is clearly the artist who had the deepest impact (with Hokusai) on the Ukiyo-e, in the nineteenth century.
His work fascinated the Japanese and influenced the occidental’s artists (Whistler, Pissarro, Van Gogh, Monet, Bonnard ...) by its surprising originality. One of his most evocative series of prints, offered to landscapes and travel lovers, « The 53 stations of the Tokaido », was first published in 1833/1834 (Hoeido edition) and brought him instant fame.
Ever since his childhood, Hiroshige shows predisposition for drawing. At the age of 14, he sought to enter the tutelage of Toyokuni from the Utagawa School but, due to his large number of pupils, he finally joined Toyohiro, master of the same school. This one is specialized in landscapes and bequeathed this love to Hiroshige.
Hiroshige began his career by portraiting female beauties and famous Kabuki actors. At his master’s death (1828?) he gave up on portraits and started depicting landscapes. He published his first series « Famous places of the capital of the East » in 1831, with 10 views of Edo. But, it is the publishing of the « The 53 stations of the Tokaido », that brought him a stunning success.
In 1832, Hiroshige traveled the Tokaido Road (Route of the East Sea) connecting Edo, the Shogun capital, to Kyoto, the imperial residence.
Thereafter, as a travel and nature lover, he published other series of prints inspired by his various travels. He also produced numbers of Kacho-e (flowers and birds prints), historical scenes, etc...
In 1845, he adopted his disciple, Shigenobu, who would later be known as Hiroshige II.
Hiroshige became a Buddhist monk in 1856 and published at the same time « the Hundred Famous Views of Edo » which he regarded as his greatest masterpiece.
He died of cholera two years later, in 1858, and was buried in the togaku-ji Temple of the Asakusa district.