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About the Artist
Katsushika Hokusai (born Oct. 1760, Edo, Japan — died May 10, 1849, Edo) was a Japanese painter, draftsman, printmaker, and book illustrator. Apprenticed to a woodcut engraver at 15, he became a student of the leading ukiyo-e master, Katsukawa Shunsho, in 1778. His first published works, prints of kabuki actors, appeared the following year. He soon turned to historical and landscape subjects and prints of children. He developed an eclectic style and achieved success with book illustrations and surimono prints ("printed things" for special occasions, such as cards and announcements), picture books and novelettes, erotic books and album prints, paintings, and ink sketches. He experimented with Western-style perspective and use of colour and later concentrated on samurai themes and Chinese subjects. His Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (1826 – 33), a series of prints, marked a summit in the history of the Japanese landscape print; in grandeur of concept and skill of execution there was little approaching it before and nothing to surpass it later. He had numerous followers, though none had his power or versatility.