by Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
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.
Comments - Terrific Sharaku kabuki portrait of the actors Arashi Ryuzo as the servant Ukiyo Matahei and Otani Hiroji III as the servant Tosa no Matahei. The pair forms an amusing contrast with one striking a boldly aggressive pose, leaning forward and scowling, while the other crosses his arms with a somewhat sheepish frown. A great expressive image with a beautiful distressed mica background emulating the original. A handsome design rarely seen in reprint.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 15 1/4" x 10 3/8"
Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Light toning, a couple smudges, some mica loss, a few creases at edes. Please see photos for details. Good overall.