An image of Standing beauty reading a letter

Hosoda Eishi

(Japan 1756 – 1829)

Standing beauty reading a letter

Not on display
Further information

Hosoda EISHI was one of the 'three great masters of beautiful women' at the height of the 'ukiyo-e' prints (late 18th to early 19th century) alongside Kitagawa UTAMARO and Torii KIYONAGA. Elegance and grace as well as absence of sensuality characterise EISHI's depiction of women compared to the works by UTAMARO and KIYONAGA. This is usually attributed to EISHI's social status and training. Unlike most 'ukiyo-e' artists who were so-called 'town painters', EISHI was a high-ranking samurai, serving the Shogun. He studied painting under Kanô Eisen'in Norinobu, the then patriarch of the Kobikichô branch of the Kanô School. While serving the 10th Shogun Ieharu (1737-86) managing his personal effects and gifts, EISHI was also his painting companion.

After three years of service, EISHI retired on the pretext of illness and began painting in the 'ukiyo-e' style initially under instruction of a Torii School artist. For this, he was excommunicated from the official Kanô School, which prohibited their artists from practicing the commoners' art.

Unlike many 'ukiyo-e' artists whose paintings reveal their lack of proper training with brush, EISHI was adept at painting and left many quality nikuhitsu 'ukiyo-e' (hand painted 'ukiyo-e'), on which he is said to have concentrated in his later life.

Asian Art Dept. AGNSW, 29 May 2002.

Place of origin
Japan: Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615–1868
circa 1814
hanging scroll; ink and colour on silk
85.0 x 34.5 cm image; 169.0 x 45.9 x 51.0 cm
Signature & date

Signed l.r., in Japanese, inscribed in ink "[Chôbunsai Eishi hitsu]". Signed l.r., in Japanese, stamped in red ink "[artist's seal]". Not dated.

Purchased 2002
Accession number