36 Views of Mt. Fuji: The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Accession Number

36 Views of Mt. Fuji: The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Katsushika Hokusai

Object Creation Date
circa 1829-1833

Medium & Support
color woodblock print on paper

10 1/8 x 14 13/16 in. (25.6 x 37.6 cm);14 3/8 x 19 5/16 in. (36.5 x 49 cm);12 1/2 x 16 7/16 in. (31.6 x 41.6 cm)

Credit Line
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

Label copy

Katsushika Hokusai

Japan, 1760–1849

Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji: The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Edo period (1615–1868)
ca. 1829–1833
Color woodblock print on paper
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker, 1948/1.149

Hokusai’s print of the iconic Mt. Fuii is perhaps the most widely recognized work of Japanese art in the world. Although this example is not in pristine condition, his brilliant sense of design—seen in the combination of

Mt. Fuji, the enormous wave, and the tiny people on boats— is still clear. So is the beautifully graded blue color, which was made with a synthetic colorant imported from Germany called “Prussian blue.”

The print is part of the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji that consists of forty-six prints, which was so popular that ten more were added to the original group. Each one includes the mountain and scenes of people engaging
in everyday activities. By the time they were designed
in the 1830s, Hokusai had developed a distinctive style mixing Western techniques like single-point perspective and a poetic depiction of his native land. His prints were enormously influential among Japanese print makers and had a considerable impact on European art of the second half of the nineteenth century.

Subject matter
Landscape of a great wave which is juxtaposed with Mount Fuji.

Physical Description
A great, claw-shaped wave which almost swampes the boats dominates the scene, . The Mount Fuji appears in the distance and seems much smaller compared to the waves. In the upper left-hand corner, the artist inscribed the title of the work along with his signature.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
color print

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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wave pattern

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& Author Notes

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