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 - A terrific portrait of Otani Oniji III as the yakko or low-ranking servant Edohei, from the play "Koi Nyobo Somewake Tazuna." The evil Edohei leans forward with a scowl, his lips tightly pursed and his body tensed. His hands are thrust out before him, the fingers spread wide. A fantastic, expressive figure and one of Sharaku's most famous prints. Beautiful natural colors and a distressed mica background.
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.