Before ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai died in 1849, he famously said that if only heaven had granted him five more years he could have become a true painter.

This deathbed lament, originally recorded in Iijima Kyoshin’s 1893 biography of the artist, is the perfect denouement to the Hokusai legend, in which the prodigious variety of his oeuvre arises from an extravagant and lifelong abandon to the cause of art itself.

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