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Biography
Shigeharu     
Shigeharu signature
Japanese Characters:
Shigeharu signature
   
Names:
Nagasaki Shigeharu (1821); Baigansai Kunishige (1821-26); Takigawa Kunishige (1825); Ryûsai Shigeharu (see signature at left; used at least as early as 8/1825 - see Comment); Gyokuryûtei Shigeharu (c. 1830-32); Gokuryûsai Shigeharu.
   
Dates:
1802-52; active circa 1821-1849
   
Seals:
Ryû (see seal at left); Yamaguchi-uji Shigeharu (Shigeharu of the Yamaguchi family)
Comments:

Born in Nagasaki but moved to Osaka as a child; Osaka address Mitsuderamachi, Shimanouchi.Surname Yamaguchi; personal names Yasuhide and Jinjirô; pupil of Utagawa Kunihiro; also associated with Yanagawa Shigenobu; co-designed with his teacher Kunihiro (with whom he shared a family name, Takigawa) a print in 8/1825 bearing the Shigeharu signature; however, continued using the name Kunishige for a brief time (e.g., on a print dated 1/1826), apparently until the announcement of the change to Shigeharu on a print in 7/1826.

Cited at the top of a list of block copyists on the single-sheet broadside Naniwa shoryû gajin meika annai ("Guide to the many famous contemporary artists of Osaka") circa 1831, where his address is given as Mitsuderamachi; possibly the first artist in Osaka to make his living from printmaking activities; mentioned in the 1835 book Naniwa zasshi chimata no uwasa (A miscellany of gossip about the town of Osaka), by Heitei Ginkei, as an artist who was "good at everything"; a manuscript providing biographies of writers and artists circa mid-1840s, Keisetsu gesakusha kô (Treatise on gesaku makers in Kyoto-Osaka) by Kimura Mokuô (Uyûsanjin), describes Shigeharu as the only Osaka artist of his time earning a living entirely from ukiyo-e print design (all the other artists supported themselves in different professions while making prints on the side; see TWOP), adding that "he was better than the rest" (also mentions Shigeharu's daughter, Yonejo, as a competent painter popular among foreign collectors).

Known to have designed single-sheet prints, illustrated books, theater billboards, theatrical programs, and paintings; productivity in single-sheet design peaked between 1829 -1831, with no prints currently known from mid-1822 until 8/1825; final year of activity in Osaka appears to have been 1838, but surviving specimens from that year are rare; apparently returned to his native Nagasaki in the early 1840s; probably not the same artist as the one signing Kunishige from 1849 and after; also probably not the same artist signing as Shigeharu on prints dated circa 1849–51.

Pupils included Shigenao; Shigefusa; Shigeyasu; Shigetoyo; Shigeyoshi; Shigehiro; Shigemasa.

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