Skip Navigation

Memorial Portrait of the Artist Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Toyohara Kunichika

Asian Art

In this print made immediately after Kunisada’s death, Kunichika depicted his teacher as a pensive scholar. Immediately above the portrait are poems by Kunichika and two of Kunisada’s other prominent students, Kunisada II and Kunihisa II, as well as a poem that Kunisada composed about his own impending death. The right sheet of this diptych contains an obituary for the artist, written by a well-known author of the period who describes Kunisada as a student of Toyokuni. With three generations present in the text, the portrait becomes a celebration of both the artist and the Utagawa lineage.
MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES December, 1864
    PERIOD Edo period
    DIMENSIONS 14 5/16 x 19 1/2 in. (36.4 x 49.5 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS 3 publisher's marks at lower right
    SIGNATURE Signed lower right: "Monjin Ippitsusai Kunichika hitsu"
    CREDIT LINE Museum Collection Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Two o-ban sheets, joined at center. In the left side of the diptych, Toyokuni II, in smoke green kimono with blue gown with butterfly-design, holds a brush and sits on a blue cushion in front of a low table with papers, water container, and ink stone. Additional painting tools on his left and a hand warner on his right. The text on the right side of the diptych introduces his biography. Condition:Some tears at bottom edge; two large tears at right near the artist's seal. Tainted at the left corner. All the edges worn and frayed slightly.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Toyohara Kunichika (Japanese, 1835–1900). Memorial Portrait of the Artist Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), December, 1864. Woodblock print, 14 5/16 x 19 1/2 in. (36.4 x 49.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 16.750.1 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 16.750.1_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 16.750.1_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
    This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement. You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.
    Toyohara Kunichika (Japanese, 1835–1900). <em>Memorial Portrait of the Artist Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)</em>, December, 1864. Woodblock print, 14 5/16 x 19 1/2 in. (36.4 x 49.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 16.750.1 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 16.750.1_IMLS_SL2.jpg)