Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795) Japanese Woodblock Reprint
Sawamuro Sojuro III and Segawa Kikunojo III
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 - Lovely Sharaku image of the Sawamuro Sojuro III as the samurai Nagoya Sanza and Segawa Kikunojo III as the courtesan Katsuragi in the play "Keisei Sanbon Karasaka." Sanza was banished from his clan after a precious scroll in his care was stolen, and the play details his efforts to find the scroll and restore his honor. He stands quietly behind the beauty, looking down with a rather lovelorn expression. She clasps her hands together, looking to the side suspiciously, her lips firmly pursed. Her black outer kimono is bordered with cherry blossoms, the fabric trailing onto the floor around her. A handsome design with fine color and detail. Great distressed mica background that emulates the original.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 15" x 9 3/4" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Mica dust in margins, a few creases. Most prints have one or two drying holes in corners. A couple have slight soiling. Please see photos for details. Generally in good condition overall.