Kanō Hōgai was a Meiji era Japanese artist of the Kanō school. As one of the last Kanō artists, he helped pioneer the nihonga art style with Hashimoto Gahō and art critic Ernest Fenollosa. Hōgai's work reflected the traditional style of the school whilst still showing experimentation and influence with Western methods. Hōgai is perhaps best known for his paintings of dragons, birds, and Buddhist gods such as Kannon.
The son of the local daimyō's chief painter, he was sent at the age of 18 to Edo to study painting formally. He stayed there for ten years and studied under Kanō Shōsen'in and other prominent artists of the time. Hōgai would eventually be called upon for such esteemed commissions as ceiling paintings for Edo Castle. He also received the honor of having some of his works displayed at the 1876 Paris International Exposition.
However, despite these honors, the economic turmoil created by the fall of the shogunate in 1868 forced Hōgai to seek to support himself with income via more mundane methods. He worked at casting iron, reclaiming land, and running a shop selling writing instruments.