Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795) Japanese Woodblock Reprint
Sawamura Yodogoro II and Bando Zenji
- From a fine collection of mid-20th century Utamaro reprints published by Mainichi Shimbun. This small 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.
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.
Comments - Incredible Sharaku double portrait of Sawamura Yodogoro II as Kawatsura Hogan and Bando Zenji as Oni-Sadobo in the famous play "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura. The fellow at left has unusually long sideburns referred to as "catfish whiskers," and a streak of red stage makeup over his eyes, giving him a fantastic appearance. His companion's hair flows loosely over his shoulders as he stares ahead, frowning with mouth agape and fist clenched. Wonderfully expressive figures in this outstanding Sharaku design. Subtle color and a beautiful, shimmering distressed mica background. A rare subject and a great choice for a collector interested in Sharaku's masterworks.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 14 7/8" x 9 1/2" + margins as shown
Condition - With excellent color and detail as shown. Please see photos for details. Good overall.