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.
Publisher - Adachi from a rare series of Edo masterwork designs. Adachi publisher seal in margin or on reverse.
Adachi was one of the most respected publishers of the 20th century. Their woodblocks were printed to the highest standards with excellent color and fine detail. Founded in 1925, Adachi also chose interesting and varied subjects for their prints and was the only publisher of many famous old ukiyo-e images.
Comments - Handsome portrait of Ichikawa Danjuro VI as Arakawa Taro in the kabuki play "Otokoyama Edo-no-Ishizue." He stares ahead with eyes wide, his lips tightly compressed into a single line, clutching a fan in one hand. His hair is interestingly styled with flared sideburns and a small ponytail on top along with a slender topknot tied with white cord. He wears a dark olive green kimono over a deep rose under robe, the shoulder emblazoned with the three concentric rice measure crest of the Ichikawa Danjuro line of actors. An original label on the back 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. An imposing design, rarely seen in reprint.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 13" x 8 3/4" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Please see photos for details. Good overall.