Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795) Japanese Woodblock Reprint
Ichikawa Omezo as Ippei, a Yakko
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.
Publisher - Adachi from a rare series of Edo masterwork designs. Adachi publisher seal in margin or on reverse.
Adachi was one of the most respected publishers of the 20th century. Their woodblocks were printed to the highest standards with excellent color and fine detail. Founded in 1925, Adachi also chose interesting and varied subjects for their prints and was the only publisher of many famous old ukiyo-e images.
Comments - Dramatic portrait of Ichikawa Omezo as Ippei, a yakko or manservant in the play "Koi Nyobo Somewake Tazuna." Omezo was just fourteen years old when this design was made, and would go on to become a very important actor. He has just drawn his sword and hesitates a moment, frowning as he looks ahead intently. He wears a red kimono with a black collar, a striking contrast with his pale skin, and his hair sticks out wildly around his face. A beautifully expressive image, enhanced with a distressed mica background. A fine example of the artist's work that would make a great display.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 15 1/4" x 10 3/8" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Fold at corner, a couple light creases at edges. Please see photos for details.