Katsushika Hokusai Featured Art Print
Katsukawa Hokusai is best-known as author of the woodblock print series 'Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji' (c. 1831) which includes the iconic and internationally recognized print, 'The Great Wave of Kanagawa'. The Great Wave depicts an enormous wave threatening boats near the Japanese prefecture of Kanagawa; Mount Fuji can be seen in the background. The wave is probably not intended to be a tsunami, but a normal ocean wave created by the wind. Like the other prints in the series, it depicts the area around Mount Fuji under particular conditions. It was specifically this prints, that secured Hokusai's fame both within Japan and worldwide. The next period, beginning in 1834, saw Katsukawa Hokusai working under the name "Gakyō Rōjin Manji" (The Old Man Mad About Art). It was at this time that he produced One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji, another significant landscape series.
In 1839, disaster struck as a fire destroyed Hokusai's studio and much of his work. By this time, his career was beginning to wane as younger artists such as Andō Hiroshige became increasingly popular. But Katsukawa Hokusai never stopped painting, and completed Ducks in a Stream at the age of 87. Constantly seeking to produce better work, he apparently exclaimed on his deathbed, "If only Heaven will give me just another ten years... Just another five more years, then I could become a real painter." He died on April 18, 1849, and was buried at the Seikyō-ji in Tokyo (Taito Ward).
Over the years Hokusai's work and in particular the image of the Great Wave has inspired artists all over the world. Copies of the print hang at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the British Museum in London, and in Claude Monet's house in Giver, France.