Long-lost painting by ukiyo-e artist Utamaro found

Kyodo

A long-lost painting by ukiyo-e artist Kitagawa Utamaro completed in the early 19th century has been discovered in Japan and will be put on public display for the first time in 66 years, a museum said Sunday.

The painting, titled “Fukagawa no Yuki” (“Snow in Fukagawa”), part of his famous snow, moon and flowers trilogy, will be shown at the Okada Museum of Art in the town of Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, from April 4 to June 30.

The other two works related to the moon and flowers belong to museums in the United States.

The painting, around 2 meters high and 3.4 meters wide, is believed to have been painted between 1801 and 1804. Utamaro died in 1806. It depicts courtesans viewing snow and encircling a brazier at a traditional restaurant.

The piece had been missing since it was last exhibited at a department store in 1948 in Tokyo’s Ginza district.

Antique art dealer Seiichiro Teramoto, deputy director of the Okada Museum, discovered the work in Japan in February 2012. It was later confirmed as an original painting by Utamaro.

“This large painting contains a proper balance of materials,” said Shugo Asano, director of the Museum Yamato Bunkakan in the city of Nara, who appraised the painting and confirmed its authenticity. “It looks as though Utamaro gave it his all to draw this before his death, and it is one of the best works in his painting career.”