About the artist
Hokkei (1780-1850), one of Hokusai's most accomplished students, mastered the art of surimono and book illustrations. Totoya, translates to 'fishmonger', he was introduced to the arts at a young age through an apprenticeship with the Kanō school painter, Yōsen'in (1753-1808). By 1799, he had joined the Hokusai studio, establishing himself as a surimono designer and painter by the 1810s. His debt to Hokusai is evident in his work, with a close collaboration on the early volumes of the Hokusai manga.
Yet, Hokkei's own genius shone through by the late 1820s, showcasing complex surimono designs, intricate interpretations of East Asian literature, history, and legends, and an intriguing sense of humor. His work closely resembled Hokusai's, with some pieces even surpassing his mentor in technical mastery.
Post 1820s, following Shunman's passing and Hokusai stepping back from surimono commissions, Hokkei and Gakutei rose to prominence as the top surimono designers of their generation.
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