Japanese artist. He was the leading printmaker of his time and a major exponent of ukiyo-e. He published Fugaku sanjū-rokkei/36 Views of Mount Fuji (c. 1823–29), and produced outstanding pictures of almost every kind of subject – birds, flowers, courtesans, and scenes from legend and everyday life. Under the Wave at Kanagawa (British Museum, London) is typical.
Hokusai was born in Edo (now Tokyo) and studied wood engraving and then (under Katsukawa Shunshō, 1726–1792) painting and colour block printing. He devoted himself for the most part to the illustration of books. His many works include Manga/Ten Thousand Sketches 1814, a pictorial encyclopaedia of all aspects of Japanese life in 15 volumes; and his monochrome One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji 1835 in 3 volumes. His colour prints, 36 Views of Mount Fuji, prove him a master of colour, his combination of greens, blues and yellows being a striking innovation. His knowledge of Western art is shown through his experiments with perspective.
Other notable works are Views of Famous Bridges, Waterfalls, and Views of Lu-chu Islands.
His works had an influence on Western artists at the end of the 19th century, including Vincent van Gogh and James Whistler.
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