Artist: Sharaku, Toshusai (active 1794-1795)
Title: The Lovers
Subject: Kabuki actors Ichikawa Komazo II and Nakayama Tomisaburo as the lovers Chubei and Umegawa.
Date: c. Originally 1794 this one 19th C
Image size: Oban tate-e: 15.5” x 10.25” inches
Condition: Full size. Minor marks and flaws. Generally very good state. Very good color with solid mica background and silver pigments.
Price: $650 Original 19 century re-print – $150 Giclee
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Tōshūsai Sharaku (active 1794–1795) was a Japanese ukiyo-e print artist, known for his portraits of kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers. Little is known of him besides the prints he designed; neither his true name nor the dates of his birth or death are known. His active career as a woodblock artist spanned ten months; his prolific work met disapproval, and his output came to an end as suddenly and mysteriously as it had begun. His work has since been recognized as some of the greatest in the ukiyo-e genre.
Over 140 prints have been established as the work of Sharaku; the majority are portraits of actors or scenes from kabuki theatre, and most of the rest are of sumo wrestlers or warriors. Energy and dynamism are the primary features of Sharaku’s portraits, and not the idealized beauty typical of ukiyo-e—Sharaku highlights unflattering features such as large noses or the wrinkles of aging actors.