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 - Wonderful Sharaku portrait of Tanimura Torazo as Washizuka Yaheiji, the wicked servant of the Yurugi family in the kabuki drama "Koi Nyobo Somewake Tazuna." He grips the handle of his katana, scowling and biting his lower lip, his face contorted with rage. He wears a black kamishimo over a light brown kimono, the shoulder and sleeve bearing the Torazo family crest. A fine expressive image with a distressed mica background.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 14 3/4" x 9 3/8" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Slight paper remnants on reverse at left edge from previous mounting. Drying holes in left corners. Slight creasing, mica dust in margins. Please see photos for details.