Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
14 11/16 x 9 7/8 in. (37.3 x 25.1 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Not on view
Utamaro often took his inspiration from the lives of common people, and he treated the theme of mother and child with more poignancy than did most artists. In Woman Washing a Baby in a Tub he depicted a mother performing a daily task that centers directly around her child. The rather large woman hunches over ungracefully as she bathes her son. In one hand the child holds a toy water bucket, which both echoes the activity in the tub and instructs him in the rituals of bathing; with the other hand he grabs his mother's arm in an effort to push her away. To enhance the visual excitement, Utamaro crops the bucket, the woman's leg, and the child's kimono. Prints such as these were the inspiration for the first series of prints made by the Impressionist artist Mary Cassatt.
Signature: Utamaro hitsu
Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer , New York (until his d. 1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer , New York (until d. 1929; bequeathed to MMA).
Richmond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. "The Influence of Japanese Prints on Mary Cassatt," May 7, 1981–June 21, 1981.
London. British Museum. "The Works of Kitagawa Utamero, 1754–1806," August 31, 1995–October 22, 1995.
Chiba City Museum of Art. "The Works of Kitagawa Utamero, 1754–1806," November 3, 1995–December 10, 1995.