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.
Oedo Mokuhansha - These classic designs were produced by the well known Tokyo publisher Oedo Mokuhansha amidst a resurgence of interest in ukiyo-e in the early 1950s. Like many of these traditional businesses, the woodblock print craft was passed down through generations, and the Oedo Mokuhansha company was formed by descendents of an Edo era publisher. These are nice prints of the highest quality standards and an excellent choice if you are looking for fine old woodblock reprints.
Comments - Incredible Sharaku portrait of Arashi Ryuzo in the role of the moneylender Ishibe no Kinkichi in the play "Hana Ayame Bunroku Soga." His lips are tightly pursed in a straight line, emphasizing his broad jaw, and his eyes are wide under heavy brows. He pushes up the sleeve of his softly toned orange and brown plaid kimono as he stares ahead. The beautiful warm color of his robe forms a handsome contrast with the black collar and distressed mica background. A great design.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 14 7/8" x 10" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Mica dust in margins, a few creases. Most prints have one or two drying holes in corners. A couple have slight soiling. Please see photos for details. Generally in good condition overall.