161.5 x 84.2cm image; 274.0 x 105.5 x 117.5cm scroll [height x width x rod]
Toyoharu was the founder of the Utagawa school, a school of 'ukiyo-e' that was to dominate the late 1700s into the 1800s. As with many 'ukiyo-e' masters, biographical details on him are scant. He produced many prints, pioneering the use of perspective in his landscape prints. In the 1780s he turned to paintings of courtesans of which this is an extraordinary example. The subject is a high-class courtesan, yet its unusual scale would indicate it was created for a special patron or teahouse proprietor who avidly admired the girl. She is sumptuously dressed in between-season robes, boldly decorated with the classic pairing of phoenix and dragon. The distinctive hairdo with its wide side flanges and many combs and ornamental hairpins dates the work to the 1780s, when such hairstyles were the vogue.
The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.252.
Jackie Menzies (Australia) (Author), The Floating World: Japan's world of transient pleasures, Sydney, 1994, cover (colour illus.). cat.no. C28
'Japanese Painting', pg. 53-69., Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales 1990, 1990, 54, 65 (colour illus.).
Gary Hickey (Author), Beauty & desire in Edo period Japan, Parkes, 1998, 28 (colour illus.), 70. fig.no. 21
'Japanese Figure Painting: From the Public to the Personal' by Jackie Menzies, pg. 114-119., Orientations Sep 2000, Sep 2000, 118 (colour illus.). fig.8
'The Floating World', The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales 2003, 2003, 252 (colour illus.).
Tadashi KOBAYASHI (Japan, b.1941) (Author), Imaging the floating world: Essays on ukiyoe prints and paintings of the Edo period, Bunkyo-ku, 2009, 104 (colour illus.). cat.no.86
James Bennett (Australia, b.1953) (Author), Amy Reigle Newland (United States of America; Australia, b.1955) (Editor), The golden journey: Japanese art from Australian collections, South Australia, 2009, 153 (colour illus.), 311 (colour illus.).
The Floating World: Japan's World of transient pleasures, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 25 May 1994–17 Jul 1994.
Great gifts, great patrons, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 17 Aug 1994–19 Oct 1994.
Beauty and Desire in Edo period Japan, National Gallery of Australia, 06 Jun 1998–09 Aug 1998.
The golden journey: Japanese art from Australian collections, Art Gallery of South Australia, 06 Mar 2009–13 Jun 2009.