Open daily. Always free.
Cuckoo Flying in the Rain

Cuckoo Flying in the Rain

On View

Not currently on view

Utagawa Hiroshige

In addition to landscapes and famous places, Hiroshige excelled in the genre known as “flower and bird pictures,” or kacho-ga. In Cuckoo Flying in Rain, Hiroshige alludes to his teacher Toyohiro’s Cuckoo Flying Past Mast in Rain. The driving rain is drawn as diagonal lines cutting across the composition in both designs, which became a common technique used by Hiroshige. The distinct cry of the cuckoo is considered a harbinger of spring and is likened to an anguished lover’s lament. The poem, in elegant cursive calligraphy, reads: Futa goe wa Two voices crossing Gomosaki koezu high over Gomosaki— hototogisu a cuckoo and rain.
Utagawa Hiroshige
(Japanese, 1797 - 1858)
Cuckoo Flying in the Rain
ca. 1835
Color woodcut
380 x 128 mm Overall
Bequest of John H. Van Vleck
Accession No.


By 1925, purchased in Japan by Frank Lloyd Wright; ca. 1926, acquired by The Bank of Wisconsin; 1928, sold to Edward Burr Van Vleck (Madison, WI); 1943, passed through inheritance to Edward’s son, John H. Van Vleck (Madison, WI); 9 January 1980, bequeathed by John H. Van Vleck to the Elvehjem Museum of Art [now called Chazen Museum of Art]

  • Mueller, Laura. "Competition and Collaboration: Japanese Prints of the Utagawa School." Leiden, The Netherlands: Hotei Publishing, 2007. p. 112, no. 75
  • Schlombs, Adele. "Hiroshige: 1797-1858." Koln, Germany: Taschen, 2007. p. 73
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Hiroshige ten: Seitan 200-shunen kinen (200th Anniversary Hiroshige Exhibition)." Madison, WI: Elvehjem Museum of Art; Japan: Bun You Associates, 1996. no. 168

  • 200th Anniversary Hiroshige Exhibition (Hiroshige ten: seiten 200-shunen kinen): Elvehjem Museum of Art, 4/29/1996–12/8/1996
  • Calm Lives, Exuberant Pleasures : Outstanding Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Van Vleck Collection: Elvehjem Museum of Art, 3/31/1984–4/15/1984

The Chazen Museum of Art welcomes comments or inquiries about works in our collection. Please allow two–three weeks for a response. Chazen staff is not able to provide valuations or authentications and such inquiries cannot be answered.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.