The Ghost in the Brush: Katsushika Ōi and the Hokusai Legacy

Katsushika Ōi (ca. 1800–1860); Yoshiwara at Night, ca. 1850; woodblock print; Ōta Museum of Art.

Julie Nelson Davis
Professor of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania
April 20, 2023; 6-7pm

807 Schermerhorn Hall


Katsushika Ōi (ca. 1800–1860) was highly regarded in her lifetime: her famous father, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), is reported to have said that her pictures of beautiful women were better than his own, while another contemporary artist commented that she had made a “reputation as a talented painter.” Yet only a handful of paintings and two illustrated books bear her signature. Given her reputation, why are there so few works remaining from the hand of Ōi? This talk reconsiders Ōi’s career, style, and legacy in the context of the Katsushika studio in her lifetime, arguing that her contributions have been vanished for the modern market, for reception abroad and for profit.