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.
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.
Comments - Dramatic portrait depicting Sakata Hangoro III as Fujikawa Mizuemon, a murderer and the villain of the kabuki play "Hana Ayame Bunroku Soga." He stares ahead with an arrogant expression, lips tightly closed and eyes wide, his chin thrust out aggressively. His neck and shoulders are tensed, his arms folded up into the sleeves of his gray kimono. The color scheme is subdued yet effective, with the black of the collar and hair providing a graphic contrast to the muted tones of the clothing and distressed metallic silver background. A great portrait effectively conveying both strength and a sense of brutality. An impressive Sharaku design, considered one of his best.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 15" x 10 1/4" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Please see photos for details. Nice condition overall.