Kunichika Toyohara and Hitoshige III Utagawa, Nihonbashi, Kabuki Actor, Flowers of Tokyo
Artist: Kunichika Toyohara (1835-1900)/ Hitoshige III Utagawa (1842-1894)
Title: Nihonbashi, Actor Nakamura Shiism as Ichihara Kidomaru
Series title: Flowers of Tokyo, Collection of Matoi with Matching Sights (東京の花 纏尽くし 名勝合)
Publisher: Wakasaya Jingoro
Size: 23.6 x 36 cm
Original Japanese woodblock print.
|Print Format||Oban (Vertical)|
|Artist Name||Kunichika Toyohara|
|Title||Nihonbashi, Actor Nakamura Shiism as Ichihara Kidomaru|
|Subject||Kabuki Theatre, Landscapes|
|Dimensions||23.6 x 36 cm|
|Condition Report||Wear on the surface, small tear on the bottom, small hole, thin areas, soiling, colour running.|
One of the last great masters of ukiyo-e, Kunichika was inspired by the plays, actors and customs of kabuki theatre. His colourful prints are records of a long lost, decadent underworld of Edo. As a young man, he studied with the ukiyo-e artist Chikanobu, from whom he received his artist name. He then apprenticed under Kunisada and began to produce actor prints in the Utagawa style, though he never used the Utagawa name. Unlike most artists of the period, he made use of strong reds and dark purples, often as background colours, rather than the softer colours that had previously been used. These new colours were made of aniline dyes imported in the Meiji period from Germany. When portraying people he only occasionally showed figures wearing Western dress, despite its growing popularity in Japan. He is also one of the best known artists to have designed a great number of prints featuring tattoos, a genre made popular earlier in Edo period by Kuniyoshi Utagawa.