Sharaku - Not much is known about the woodblock print artist Toshusai Sharaku, who specialized in kabuki portraits. His career spanned only ten months from 1794 to 1795, with around 150 prints known. Unlike his contemporaries, Sharaku did not idealize his subjects, instead creating realistic portrayals that were not always flattering, and his prints were not a popular success at the time. His best works convey a rare perceptivity, with a psychological insight and a deep understanding of the dramatic nature of the roles and the actors he depicted. Sharaku left behind a body of masterworks of ukiyo-e kabuki portraiture that remained unrecognized until a century after his death.
National Museum Reprint - An original label and seal on the reverse indicates that this print was published by the National Museum, the name of the Tokyo National Museum from 1947 - 1952. The museum commissioned high quality reprints of many of the ukiyo-e masterworks in its collection.
Comments - Handsome kabuki portrait of Otani Oniji as the samurai Kawashima Jibugoro. He stares ahead with an angry expression, gripping the top of his sword with one hand as he raises his other behind his head. His solid green robe is tucked up waist for easier traveling, revealing a delicately embossed loincloth, and he has a white cloth wrapped about his head. His hair is rather disheveled, with loose hairs framing his face. A terrific expressive figure, rare to find in reprint. A label and seal on the back indicates that this print was published by National Museum, the name of the Tokyo National Museum from 1947 - 1952. The museum commissioned high quality reprints of many of the ukiyo-e masterworks in its collection.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 12 3/4" x 6"
Condition - Excellent with no issues to report.