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Kitagawa Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Utamaro is regarded as one of the greatest ukiyo-e artists of all time. Considered by many the finest master of bijin-ga (pictures of beauties), Utamaro was able to convey subtle aspects of mood and personality that go beyond physical beauty. His evocative, sensual beauties have justly earned him an international reputation.

Early life

Not much is known about the early life of Utamaro. He studied painting with the artist Sekien, but Kiyonaga's woodblock print designs of graceful women probably had the greatest influence on Utamaro's work.

Woodblock printing

Utamaro established his mature style in the 1790s, creating graceful, elegant beauties and courtesans with a unique insight into mood and personality. His idealized women have a sensual beauty reinforced by Utamaro's fluid, elegant line and his use of sumptuously patterned fabrics and rich mica backgrounds. In addition to his well-known bust-length portraits, Utamaro also did scenes of women at work, famous lovers, erotic books (shunga), beauties from legend and history, and festivals and outdoor scenes.

In 1804, Utamaro was arrested and briefly imprisoned for violating censorship laws for a historical print depicting the Shogun Hideyoshi, whose heir had been deposed by the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate. He was never quite the same after this experience, and although he continued to create prints, he died two years later.

During his lifetime, Utamaro designed around two thousand prints. His best-known series include Ten Studies in Female Physiognomy, Twelve Hours in the Yoshiwara, and Great Love Themes of Classical Poetry (Women in Love).

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Item   Price Bidding Details
Mallard Ducks and Kingfisher by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Mallard Ducks and Kingfisher


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Special selection - Bill's $25 opening bid auctions!
Bid: $25.00 Standard Auction
Bids: 1
Ends: 6d 6h 44m542665
Deeply Hidden Love by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Deeply Hidden Love


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Opening at $25 only! Any high bid wins, values to $1,000!
Bid: $50.00 Standard Auction
Bids: 2
Ends: 6h 31m23485
Beauty Tucking a Hair behind Her Ear by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Beauty Tucking a Hair behind Her Ear


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Lovely silver mica background, Adachi Publisher
$95.00 Fixed Price
Young Woman Blowing a Poppin  by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Young Woman Blowing a Poppin


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

$85.00 Fixed Price
Dojo-ji Temple  by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Dojo-ji Temple


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Fine Adachi Publisher reprint, Beautiful mica background
$115.00 Fixed Price
Picture of the Upper Class by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Picture of the Upper Class


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Fine Adachi Publisher reprint
$85.00 Fixed Price
Young Woman Blowing a Poppin  by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Young Woman Blowing a Poppin


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

$85.00 Fixed Price
Beauty Smoking by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Beauty Smoking


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Fine Takamizawa Publisher reprint with beautiful mica
$115.00 Fixed Price
Hour of the Horse (12 Noon), 1915 Watanabe Reprint by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Hour of the Horse (12 Noon), 1915 Watanabe Reprint


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Rare, beautifully printed 1915 Watanabe reprint. See details...
$215.00 Fixed Price
Quail and Skylark by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Quail and Skylark


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Rare, Oedo Mokuhansha published reprint.
$115.00 Fixed Price
Combing the Hair by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Combing the Hair


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Fine Takamizawa Publisher reprint
$135.00 Fixed Price
Takashima Ohisa by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Takashima Ohisa


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Rare reprint
$115.00 Fixed Price
The Chatterbox and the Naughty Girl  by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

The Chatterbox and the Naughty Girl


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

$95.00 Fixed Price
Dressing a Young Girl for the Obitoki Ceremony at the Shichigosan Festival by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Dressing a Young Girl for the Obitoki Ceremony at the Shichigosan Festival


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

$95.00 Fixed Price
The Peepshow by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

The Peepshow


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Rare, with mica dusting
$95.00 Fixed Price
The Asahiya Widow by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

The Asahiya Widow


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Rare Adachi reprint, beautifully printed
$115.00 Fixed Price
Picture of the Middle Class by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Picture of the Middle Class


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

$85.00 Fixed Price
Deeply Hidden Love by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Deeply Hidden Love


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Fine Adachi Publisher reprint, Beautiful mica background
$95.00 Fixed Price
Bag Worm and Horned Scarab Beetle by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Bag Worm and Horned Scarab Beetle


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

$75.00 Fixed Price
Evening Cicada and Spider by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Evening Cicada and Spider


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

$75.00 Fixed Price
Land Snail and Giant Katydid by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Land Snail and Giant Katydid


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

$75.00 Fixed Price
Ochie of the Koiseya at Kobikicho, Shin-yashiki by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Ochie of the Koiseya at Kobikicho, Shin-yashiki


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Exquisite Watanabe early reprint, with seal and mica background
$175.00 Fixed Price
Hawk and Shrike by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Hawk and Shrike


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Rare, Oedo Mokuhansha published reprint.
$135.00 Fixed Price
Courtesan Takigawa of Ogiya by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Courtesan Takigawa of Ogiya


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Fine Adachi Publisher reprint
$95.00 Fixed Price
Beauty Applying Makeup by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Beauty Applying Makeup


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Stunning Utamaro masterwork with mica detail
$155.00 Fixed Price
Beauty and an Insect Cage by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Beauty and an Insect Cage


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

$95.00 Fixed Price
Needlework by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Needlework


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Rare, early Watanabe publisher reprint
$175.00 Fixed Price
Dressing the Hair by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Dressing the Hair


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Exquisite Watanabe early reprint, with 6mm seal
$175.00 Fixed Price
Love That Meets Each Night by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Love That Meets Each Night


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

$95.00 Fixed Price
The Fancy-Free Type by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

The Fancy-Free Type


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Beautiful mica background
$95.00 Fixed Price
The Fancy-Free Type by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

The Fancy-Free Type


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

$85.00 Fixed Price
Hour of the Sheep (2 pm)  by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Hour of the Sheep (2 pm)


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Fine Adachi Publisher reprint
$85.00 Fixed Price
Hour of the Boar (10 pm) by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Hour of the Boar (10 pm)


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Fine Adachi Publisher reprint
$85.00 Fixed Price
Beauties Playing by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Beauties Playing


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

$95.00 Fixed Price
Kamiya Jihei and Kinokuniya Koharu by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Kamiya Jihei and Kinokuniya Koharu


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Beautiful Adachi publisher reprint
$95.00 Fixed Price
Courtesan Somenosuke of the Matsubaya  by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Courtesan Somenosuke of the Matsubaya


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Fine Adachi Publisher reprint
$85.00 Fixed Price
Beauty Smoking by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Beauty Smoking


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Fine Adachi Publisher reprint, Beautiful mica background
$115.00 Fixed Price
Miyahito of the Ogiya by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Miyahito of the Ogiya


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Shimmering mica background, Adachi publisher
$125.00 Fixed Price
Beauty with Grinding Mill by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Beauty with Grinding Mill


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Fine Adachi Publisher reprint
$95.00 Fixed Price
Woman Reading a Letter by Utamaro (1750 - 1806)

Woman Reading a Letter


Utamaro (1750 - 1806)


Exquisite Watanabe early reprint, with 6mm seal and mica background
$175.00 Fixed Price