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 - Fantastic portrait of the actor Bando Mitsugoro II as Ishii Genzo in a scene from the kabuki play "Hana Ayame Bunroku Soga." Here the brother faces the murderer of his father and brother, gripping his sword as he prepares to avenge their deaths. He scowls as he looks ahead, his eyes wide, the wind blowing the loose hair about his face, his expression one of intense hatred. A terrific expressive image, the soft tones of his white robe highlighted by the distressed mica background and enlivened with touches of bright color.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 14 1/2" x 9 3/4" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Mica dust in margins, a few creases. Good condition overall.