Katsushika Hokusai was a brilliant artist, ukiyo-e painter and print maker, best known for his wood block print series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, which contain the prints The Great Wave and Fuji in Clear Weather. These prints are famous both in Japan and overseas, and have left a lasting image in the worldwide art world. Hokusai’s artistic influence has stretched to have affected the Art Nouveau style in Europe, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Hermann Obrist, all of whom have themes similar to Hokusai’s.
Hokusai had a long career, but he produced most of his important work after age 60. The aged artist lost everything in a fire at his lodgings in 1839 and devoted the last ten years of his life to painting increasingly transcendent subjects, such as tigers and mythic creatures. At the age of 88, on his deathbed, it is said that he exclaimed that he needed only five more years of life, in order to become a real painter.