Japan: circa 1860s. Color woodcut. Triptych 38.5 x 75.5. Matted and framed by "K. Mizhuhara Bros. Japanese Artisans."
Sadahide was born as Hashimoto Kenjiro in Shimosa Province (modern Chiba Prefecture) near Edo. He became a student of Utagawa Kunisada I (1786-1865), also known as Tokokuni III (hence the sada character in his own professional name) and usually signed himself Gountei Sadahide. He is also known as Hashimoto and Gyokuransai Sadahide.
His early work, beginning in 1826, was mainly book illustrations, but in the 1830s he began to produce color prints of conventional subjects such as beautiful women and actors.
Sadahide is considered one of Utagawa Kunisada's more accomplished students.3 He was a fine draftsman and often managed to bring a flair for compositional design to his pictures, when many of his contemporaries relied solely on pictorial reporting.4 He is also one of the finest artists in whose work Western stylistic elements are incorporated in a completely convincing manner. His deft use of Western perspective is combined with such typical ukiyo-e elements as the abrupt cutting off of the representation by the border of the picture plane, and shading to indicate modeling of the figures is juxtaposed with flat planes. Sadahide's work certainly influenced the later artists of the Utagawa school, who specialized in prints reporting actual events of the Meiji period, but most of these artists lacked his power of expression and depicted the much-changed Meiji world in the manner of their Tokugawa forebears. Item #51-2322