Mainichi Shimbun Publisher - From a fine collection of mid-20th century Utamaro reprints published by Mainichi Shimbun. This small Tokyo publisher carved blocks and reprinted many of the great masterwork designs of the Edo era. Their work was exquisite with an emphasis on quality, not quantity. Note the exceptional detail, carefully shaded printing, fine mica backgrounds, embossing, and other deluxe techniques. Mainichi prints are perfect for the collector or for the highest quality reprint for display.
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 double portrait of Sanokawa Ichimatsu III as the beauty O-Nayo of Gion Street and Ichikawa Tomiemon in the role of the commoner Kanisaka Toda in the play "Hana Ayame Bunroku Soga." The couple seems to be conspiring, leaning close to each other, the woman fingering the hilt of sword. The fellow has a rather comical expression on his face, his eyebrows drooping and eyes wide, a few loose wisps of hair framing his face. A wonderful image enhanced with a distressed mica background.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 15" x 10" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Please see photos for details. Good overall.