Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795) Japanese Woodblock Reprint
Iwai Hanshiro IV as Shigenoi
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.
Takamizawa Reprints - Handsome reprint by the venerable Takamizawa publisher. Takamizawa was known as one of the finest reprint publishers of the 20th century, and produced some of the highest quality ukiyo-e woodblock reprints of all time. Drawing on the traditions and methods of the Edo era, the prints were produced replicating original Edo era colors and printed on beautiful handmade paper. The printers worked with the utmost care and great attention to detail, masterfully reproducing color and line work. All prints bear the red or brown "Takamizawa" seal on the reverse attesting to the Takamizawa publication of these prints. A great opportunity to acquire a fine reprint of a classic ukiyo-e design.
Comments - Lovely Sharaku portrait of the wet-nurse Shigenoi in the drama "Koi Nyobo Somewake Tazuna" as portrayed by Iwai Hanshiro IV. In one of the most poignant scenes from the play, Shigenoi parts from her young long-lost son without revealing his identity, to save her master's daughter from embarrassment at being the foster sister of a lowly groom. She looks over her shoulder with an anxious, slightly sad smile, holding an amulet bag in her hand. She wears a fine kimono in pale peach patterned with butterflies, with an outer robe in soft orange red. A moving design, considered one of Sharaku's best, with a lovely distressed metallic silver background.
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.