Exhibitions: Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770–1900

Utagawa Hiroshige II: A Picture of American Prosperity

Utagawa Hiroshige II (1829–1869). A Picture of American Prosperity, 1861. Color woodcut. Chazen Museum of Art, John H. Van Vleck Endowment Fund purchase, 2002.96a–c

Like many designers of Yokohama-e, Hiroshige II took considerable liberties when depicting an exotic Western subject. Here, an image claiming to depict America is actually based on a picture of the Frederiksberg Castle near Copenhagen, Denmark, published in the Illustrated London News in 1860. Among the details added to enhance the picture’s appeal are palm trees and dramatic mountains in the distance and a wide array of colorful costume fabrics.