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KITAGAWA UTAMARO (1754-1806)
KITAGAWA UTAMARO (1754-1806)
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KITAGAWA UTAMARO (1754-1806)

The courtesan Hanaogi of the house Ogiya at Edomachi itchome, with attendants Yoshino and Tatsuta

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KITAGAWA UTAMARO (1754-1806)
The courtesan Hanaogi of the house Ogiya at Edomachi itchome, with attendants Yoshino and Tatsuta
Woodblock print, from an untitled series of courtesans compared to flowers, signed Utamaro hitsu, circa 1802
Vertical oban: 14 7/8 x 10 in. (37.8 x 25.4 cm.)

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Lot Essay

The courtesan, Hanaogi holding her brush between her teeth before writing a letter to an important customer, admirer, perhaps, or the latest novelette. Utamaro has caught a famous beauty unawares. The paparazzo effect is calculated, however, as there is no indication she or any of the beautiful women Utamaro drew ever sat for him. Like today’s glossed mannequins and influencers on the internet, her purpose is to advertise the possibility of pleasure: most obviously here, the exclusive Ogiya brothel (fig. 1.) in Yoshiwara, where she works, her chic hairstyle and the pattern and color combo of her robes.

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