Utagawa Kuniteru I

Utagawa Kuniteru I 初代 歌川国輝 (active c. 1820-1860*)

*Note that I have used the date "active c. 1820-1860" for this artist, as does the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, but this active period may not be definitive.

BIOGRAPHY

Four artists with partially overlapping careers seem to have used the artist name Kuniteru, as well as a fifth artist known as Utagawa Kuniteru III, active c. 1886-1895. Roberts, in A Dictionary of Japanese Artists, provides brief biographies of the four overlapping Kuniterus as follows:1


Kuniteru 国照 (1808-1876) N. : Utagawa (originally Yamashita Ōta 山下) Kuniteru 歌川国照. F.N.: Hikosaburō 彦三郎, Jin'emon 甚右衛門, Sōemon 惣右衛門. [artist names]: Ban'an 晩庵, Kinshō Tōeki 琴松  , Kōbairo 香梅楼, Naoteru 直照 (early). Biog. Ukiyo-e printmaker. Born in Edo. Studied first under Kunisada, then a late pupil of Toyokuni. Began to use of Kuniteru about 1844. Produced book illustrations and single-sheet prints. A late, poor printmaker, one of the many followers of the Toyokuni tradition. However, in his work outside the ukiyo'e field, showed the influence of Tani Bunchō. Note: Since many references to collections and bibliography carry no kanji, all such references may refer to this artist or to any one of the other three using the name Kuniteru (q.v.). 


Kuniteru 国輝 (fl. mid-19th c.) N. : Utagawa (originally Ōta 大田) Kinjirō 歌川金次郎. [artist names]: Dokushisha 独酔舎, Gochōtei 五蝶亭, Ichiyūsai 一雄斎, Kuniteru  国輝, Sadashige 貞重, Shinteitei 新貞亭, Yūsai 雄斎. Biog.: Ukiyo-e printmaker. Pupil of Kunisada. When his master used the of Kunisada, Kuniteru called himself Sadashige 貞重; when Kunisada became Toyokuni III, called himself Kuniteru. Made actor prints, generally in a style close to that of Kuniyoshi. Note: Since many references to collections and bibliography carry no kanji, all such references may refer to this artist or to any of the other three using the name Kuniteru (q.v.). 


Kuniteru 国輝 (fl. early Meiji era) N. : Utagawa (originally Okada 岡田); later Toyohara 豊原) Toshirō 歌川藤四  郎. [artist names]: Ichiyūsai 一雄斎, Kuniteru 国輝. Biog.: Ukiyo-e printmaker. Born in Edo. Pupil first of Kunisada and then Kunichika. Good nishiki-e artist. Note: Since many references to collections and bibliography carry no kanji, all such references may refer to this artist or to any of the other three using the name Kuniteru (q.v.).


Kuniteru II 国照二代 (1829-1874). N.: Yamada Kunijirō. [artist names] Ichiyōsai 一曜斎 , Ichiyūsai 一雄斎, Kuniteru 国輝, Kunitsuna II 国綱二代, Sadashige 貞重 , Yōsai 曜斎. Biog. Ukiyo-e printmaker. Pupil of Kunisada. Depicted the manners and sights of the late Tokugawa and early Meiji ages, particularly the early industrial scenes. Note: Since many references to collections and bibliography carry no kanji, all such references may refer to this artist or to any of the other three using the name Kuniteru (q.v.).


It should be noted that other artist names () associated with Kuniteru, not mentioned by Roberts, include Kunimitsu II 歌川国光 二代2 and Kunihiko 国彦3, a name with which Kuniteru (presumably first generation) started signing with around 1855. (See below signatures and seals, for an example.)


Unfortunately, differentiating between the Kuniterus proves difficult with various museums providing sometimes conflicting information on artists using the name Kuniteru. A sampling of how museums present prints credited to artists named Kuniteru follows:


Museum of Fine Arts, Boston lists Utagawa Kuniteru I (Sadashige) (Japanese, active about 1820–60); Utagawa Kuniteru II (Kunitsuna II) (Japanese, 1830–1874); Toyohara Kuniteru III (Japanese, active about 1880–1900).


The National Diet Library of Japan lists only Utagawa Kuniteru I (?-?) with the following description:4

A disciple of Utagawa Kunisada I. Worked on a large number of kodomo-e (prints with children as their subject) and kyokun-e (nishiki-e (brocade pictures) intended to convey knowledge or a frame of mind). 

Active Period: Bunsei era (1818-1830)-Ansei era(1854-1860)

Other Name(s): Sadashige, Yusai, Ichiyūsai, Gochotei, Issensai


The Metropolitan Museum of Art lists only Utagawa Kuniteru, using the birth-death dates of 1830–1874, which are actually the dates commonly associated with Utagawa Kuniteru II (1830-1874)


The Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art lists Utagawa Kuniteru 歌川国輝 (active ca. 1820-1860); Utagawa Kuniteru II 二代目歌川国輝 (1830-1874) and Utagawa Kuniteru III 歌川国輝三代目 (active ca. 1877-1896) 


The British Museum lists only Utagawa Kuniteru 歌川国輝 1847-1872 (active). 


The Minneapolis Museum of Art lists the artist Utagawa Kuniteru II (1829-1874).


Waseda University Library list two Kuniterus -  歌川国輝 utagawa, kuniteru [no birth and death dates provided] and 歌川国輝 utagawa, kuniteru, 1830-1874.

  

The Van Gogh Museum lists only Utagawa Kuniteru (1808-1876).


The Japan Arts Council lists the artist [2]一曜斎国輝 [Ichiyosai Kuniteru II] and does not have any entries for other generations of Kuniteru. It provides the following information for the artist Ichiyōsai Kuniteru II:5

人物履歴 [Personal History]: [2]一曜斎国輝 [Ichiyōsai Kuniteru II]

人名 [real name]

[2代目] 歌川 国綱 うたがわ くにつな [Utagawa Kunitsuna II]

[2代目] 歌川 国輝 うたがわ くにてる [Utagawa Kuniteru II] - 備考 [note] 本名 [real name]:山田国次郎 [Yamada Kunijirō] 生没 [birth and death]:天保1年(1830)~明治7年(1874)12月15日 [1830-December 15, 1874] 作画期 [artistic period]:文久(1861-1864)~明治7年(1874) [Bunkyu era (1861-1864) to the seventh year of Meiji era (1874)] 画系:[artist lineage][3]歌川豊国門人 [student of Utagawa Toyokuni III]

画号など [art pseudonyms]

[2代目] 国綱 くにつな [Kunitsuna II] - 備考 [note] ~元治(1864-1865)頃 [Genji era (1864-1865)]

一蘭斎 いちらんさい [Ichiransai] - 備考 [note] ~元治(1864-1865)頃 [Genji era (1864-1865)]

[2代目]  国輝 くにてる [Kuniteru II] - 備考 [note] 慶応1年(1865)頃~ [Around the first year of Keiō (1865)]

一雄斎 いちゆうさい [Ichiyūsai] - 備考 [note] ~慶応1年(1865)頃~ [Around the first year of Keiō (1865)]

一曜斎いちようさい [Ichiyōsai] - 備考 [note] ~慶応1年(1865)頃~ [Around the first year of Keiō (1865)]

曜斎ようさい [Yōsai] - 備考 [note] ~慶応1年(1865)頃~ [Around the first year of Keiō (1865)]

[2代目]  一雄斎国輝 いちゆうさいくにてる [Chiyū saikuniteru] 


This collection contains prints from three different artists using the name Kuniteru who I have listed as Utagawa Kuniteru I (first generation Kuniteru), Utagawa Kuniteru II (2nd generation Kuniteru) and Utagawa Kuniteru III (3rd generation.) Utagawa Kuniteru I, encompassed Roberts first three entries, transcribed above.


1 A Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Prints, Lacquer, Laurance P. Roberts, Weatherhill, 1976, p. 97-98.2 Ukiyo-e Literature Materials Museum, Katō Yoshio https://www.ne.jp/asahi/kato/yoshio/aiueo-zenesi/ku-zenesi/kuniteru1-utagawa.html3 Ukiyo-e Literature Materials Museum, Katō Yoshio https://www.ne.jp/asahi/kato/yoshio/aiueo-zenesi/ku-zenesi/kunimitu2-utagawa1.html 4 National Diet Library https://www.ndl.go.jp/landmarks/e/artists/utagawa-kuniteru-1/5 Japan Arts Council https://www2.ntj.jac.go.jp/dglib/collections/search_each?division=collections&class=nishikie&type=painter&ikana=%E3%81%84%E3%81%A1%E3%82%88%E3%81%86%E3%81%95%E3%81%84%E3%81%8F%E3%81%AB%E3%81%A6%E3%82%8B+&ititle=%5B2%5D%E4%B8%80%E6%9B%9C%E6%96%8E%E5%9B%BD%E8%BC%9D+&istart=0&iselect=%E3%81%84&rid=5000026&pid=7&trace=result

Signatures and Seals Attributed to Kuniteru I (a sampling)

Sadashige aratame Kuniteru ga

貞重改 国輝画

(1833-1847)

Sadashige aratame Kuniteru ga

貞重改 国輝画 (1847)

Kuniteru ga

画輝画

(1847-1852)

Ichiyūsai Kuniteru ga

一雄斎国輝画

(1847-1852)

Ichiyūsai Kuniteru ga

一雄齋国輝画

c. 1850

Kuniteru aratame Kunihiko ga, in toshidama cartouche

国輝舎国彦画

(December 1855)

Sadashige ga

貞重画

(date unknown)

Utagawa Sadashige ga

歌川貞重画

(date unknown)

latest revision:12-27-20234-23-2019 created

Prints in Collection

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