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 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 - Terrific double portrait of Segawa Tomisaburo II as Yadorigi, the wife of Ogishi Kurando, and her maidservant Wakakusa, played by Nakamura Manyo, in a scene from "Hana Ayame Bunroku Soga." Yadorigi wears a tan robe over a soft rose kimono patterned with delicate leaves, her hand held gracefully before her chest. The corners of her lips curve up slightly as she looks over her shoulder, her maid crouching subserviently beside her. The two form an interesting pair, with the tall, elegant Yadorigi in contrast to the full-faced Wakakusa. Lovely muted color and a distressed shimmering mica background in this handsome design.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 15 1/4" x 10" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Toning. Please see photos for details.