Nakamura Konozo and Nakajima Wadaemon

by Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)

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Nakamura Konozo and Nakajima Wadaemon by Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)

Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795) Japanese Woodblock Reprint
Nakamura Konozo and Nakajima Wadaemon

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 double portrait from the kabuki play "Katakiuchi Noriai Banashi." Nakamura Konozo portrays the boatman Kanagawaya no Gon, and Nakajima Wadaemon appears as Bodara no Chozaemon. The boatman has just delivered his customer to a brothel, and he carries a small wooden chest, used to hold the belongings of passengers. The pair presents a marvelous contrast, with the short, heavy, pug-nosed boatman next to the taller, thinner, more angular man, who appears anxious and distraught next to his stolid companion. Fine distressed mica background. A real masterpiece, considered the finest of Sharaku's double portraits.

Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)

Image Size - 14 3/4" x 8 7/8" + margins as shown

Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Slight paper remnants on reverse at left edge from previous mounting. Slight soiling, a few creases, mica dust in margins. Please see photos for details.

Nakamura Konozo and Nakajima Wadaemon by Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Nakamura Konozo and Nakajima Wadaemon by Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)