Fancy-free Type, 1792-1793

Not on Viewexpand_more

After producing a few successful books, Utamaro and the publisher Tsutaya launched an innovative type of bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) series. It was the first to feature women in half-length portraits, a format previously reserved for yakusha-e (actor prints). It was also the first attempt by an ukiyo-e artist to represent the individuality of women. Except for the most famous prostitutes, print designers tended to depict women as stereotypes of femininity. Utamaro’s close-up portraits straightforwardly captured the facial expressions of his models, vividly evoking their personalities despite their anonymity. The woman shown here is identified on the print as the “fickle type.” To convey that quality, Utamaro has her casting a glance over her shoulder, hoping to catch the eye of an interested suitor as she returns, careless and disheveled, from the bath.

Fancy-free Type
Artist Life
1753 - 1806
Accession Number
Wakai Kenzaburō; Hayashi Tadamasa; Chavarse (order unclear); Louis V. Ledoux (until 1948); Roland Koscherak (around 1948); Richard P. Gale (until 1974)
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

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