Onishi CHINNEN (1792-1851)




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One volume complete: Sonan gafu, “A Book of Drawings by Sonan.” One of the best known Shijo books. Much admired by Jack Hillier who used the double page illustration of Fuji and pines for the covers to his 2 vol. book: The Art of the Japanese Book. Original crimped yellow covers with green medallion design. Original title slip. Preface 6 pp. dated Tempo 3 ( 1832 ); 1 p. table of contents followed by 25 double-page colour illustrations. Last page dated Tempo 3 ( 1832 ), signed Chinnen with seal Onishi Chinnen. Inside back cover: colophon, dated Tempo 5 ( 1834 ). Publishers Kobayashi Shimbei and Osakaya Gembei, Edo. Provenance: Ex collections H.M.Kaempfer and Theodore Duret ( seals on last page ). Covers somewhat worn and some slight thumbing, marks and off-setting throughout. Generally good condition.


Status: Sold




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Yushido SHUNCHO (Fl. C 1780-95)




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A chuban print showing beauties sight-seeing on the Sumida River. From a set of ten prints of views of Koto ( an area of Edo bounded by the Sumidagawa to the west and Arakawa to the east ). Published by Enomoto, c 1790.


Very good impression. Exceptionally well preserved colour: the fugitive pigments intact. Very slight soil, otherwise very good condition. Full size.


Status: Sold

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Kitagawa KIKUMARO (Fl. c. ? – 1830)




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Ryogoku Bridge from a set: Edo meisho mitate ju kei, “A Parody of Ten Famous Places in Edo.” Shows pleasure boats cooling off between the trestles of the bridge. The Ryogoku was often depicted by Hiroshige and other artists, especially with fireworks over the bridge to celebrate the “Opening of the River” on the 28th day of the 5th month. Published by Yamashiroya Tokei (?), c. 1803. Ex Hayashi collection, sealed bottom right.


Very good impression, colour and condition. Signed Kikumaro hitsu. ( Kikumaro signed thus between 1795 – 1805. )


Status: Sold

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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Looking Tiresome: The Appearance of a Virgin of the Kansei Era ( 1789 – 1802 ). From the set: Thirty-two Aspects of Women published by Tsunashima Kamekichi, 1888. The young girl strokes a pet cat.


Very fine impression of the first edition with the cat’s fur strongly blind-printed. Fine colour. Miniscule trimming on left, otherwise very good condition. Signed Yoshitoshi ga.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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A young girl seated to have her photograph taken, the plate camera with dark cloth draped over, to the right. From a series Kaika ninjo kagami, “A Mirror of Modern Manners and Customs, ” sub-title “Photographs.” Photography took off quickly in Japan and there were a considerable number of photographic studios in Tokyo in the 1870’s. However, there are only a few prints as early as this showing cameras. Published 1878.


Very fine impression with extensive burnishing. Fine colour. Minor trimming and light album backing. Signed Toyohara Kunichika fude.


Status: Sold

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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The actor Ichikawa Sandanji I as Akiyama Kiimori holding a sword amidst a conflagration. Yakiuchi no ba from a set Meijiza Shinkyogen, “New Plays for the Meiji Theatre.” Although the play is unidentified the house in the background has been set on fire in an attempt to capture the hero Kiimori. Kunichika’s best print in this genre. Published by Akiyama Buemon, 1894.


Fine impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.


Status: Sold

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Kitagawa UTAMARO (1753-1806)




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The lovers Miuraya Agemaki and Yorozuya Sukeroku from the set: Jitsu kurabe iro no minakami, “True Feelings Compared: The Founts of Love.” A series of half-length portraits from joruri love-suicide plays with the addition of several other famous couples. This design depicts a scene from the second half of a “Sukeroku” play showing the hero Yorozuya no Sukeroku and the courtesan Agemaki from the Shimabara quarter: Sukeroku kills Ikyu, steals the heirloom sword Tomokiri-maru and the two lovers escape after Sukeroku gets soaked hiding in a water butt, and then being hidden in the voluminous surcoat of Agemaki [ as shown here ]. The set published c 1798-9 by Nishimuraya. Ex collection Adolphe Stoclet, sold Sothebys 2004, lot 239, p. 139. Bought from Murakami 17/6/1908. Other impressions: Vever, Part 1, 1974, lot 197, p. 168 ( trimmed ); Shibui, Zuten, p. 110, no. 8; Yoshida, Utamaro, 1941, no. 365; TNM, vol. 2, no. 1896. Unidentified collector’s seal bottom right.


Very good impression and colour. Slightly trimmed at top and minimally at bottom. Small edge repair. Signed Utamaro hitsu.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A beauty having taken a bath wears a loose fitting yukata with a tenugui slung over one shoulder. She is about to brush her teeth. From Kuniyoshi’s finest set of fan prints. An untitled series of at least six designs showing young women in a state of dishabille at their toilette in front of mirrors, the corners partly concealed with cloth covers. Published c 1843-5 by Ibaya Sensaburo. For obvious reasons, uncut uchiwa-e are scarce. Indeed, this example might be unique. The other known prints from this rare set are: 1) A beauty powdering her face; 2) A beauty shaving her forehead; 3) A beauty suckling a child; 4) A beauty adjusting her hair with scissors; 5) A beauty playing with a cat.


Very good impression and colour. Slight soil top and bottom right corners, otherwise good condition. Uncut. The rich blue grounds on this series have added mica. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.


Status: Sold

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Katsukawa SHUN’EI (1762-1819)




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The actor Matsumoto Koshiro IV. One of a rare series of bust portraits, each with the haigo ( poetic ) name and a fanciful title. Here: Kinko and Koraiya. Koshiro was well known as a haiku poet. Published by Iseya Jisuke, c early 1790s. Originally purchased by me at Sothebys, 13/12/1993, lot 12.


Very good impression. Slight fading, otherwise very good condition. Full size. Signed Shunei ga.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa YOSHIIKU (1833-1904)




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A rare print with title in a fishing net: Mitate nitaka kingyo, “A Parody of Goldfish with Actor’s Expressions.” The public would, of course, have recognised these actors, and Kuniyoshi and several pupils had a penchant for them. Indeed, Yoshiiku went on to be a cartoonist for the Tokyo Eiri Shimbun [ newspaper ]. Published 1863.


Very good impression and colour. Minor soil, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ikkeisai Yoshiiku giga.


Status: Sold

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Katsukawa SHUNSHO (1726-1792)




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The actor Nakamura Nakazo I as Prince Koreakira, younger brother of Emperor Go-Toba, in the play Gohiiki Kanjincho performed at the Nakamura Theatre, 1/11/1773. This scene shows Nakazo as the evil prince about to be confronted by Kumai no Taro ( in this case Ichikawa Danjuro V ) in the Shibaraku scene. Ex collection H.R.W. Kuhne, sold Sothebys 11/6/1993, lot 62. Another impression from the Clarence Buckingham collection, ex Frank Lloyd Wright, is illustrated in the Actor’s Image, Clark & Ueda, 1994, no. 66, p. 196.


Very good impression, colour and condition. An exceptional hosoban with the motif on the white court robes blind printed: An extremely rare effect in the hosoban format. Signed Shunsho ga.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A vertical diptych of a salt-water gatherer. These girls are often depicted in ukiyoe and seem to have held a fascination with the public akin to that for ama divers. Published by Jimpachi, c 1840.


Very good impression and colour. Sheets separated. Minor signs of being mounted around edge, otherwise good condition. ( These vertical diptychs of this date and earlier were usually mounted onto inexpensive paper mounts. A poor man’s version of kakemono paintings. ) Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.



Status: Sold

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Kubo SHUNMAN (1757-1820)




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A rare surimono showing new year festivities before a large screen depicting Mount Fuji at sunset. A versatile and highly talented artist working in various mediums, Shunman produced (and cut and printed) some of the finest surimono. Published c 1810s. I cannot, at the moment, locate another impression.

Fine impression and colour with extensive gold and silver. Fine condition. Sealed Shunman bottom right.


Fine impression and colour with silver and gold. Light backing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Shokyuko Shuntei ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Totoya HOKKEI (1780-1850)




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An exceptionally rare surimono showing salt gatherers on a beach, their huts behind them and Mount Fuji towering over the horizon. Published c 1820s. I cannot, at the moment, locate another impression.


Fine impression with gold clouds and Fuji heavily blind-printed. Fine colour. Minimal soil, otherwise very good condition. Si8ned Hokkei.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Kitagawa UTAMARO (1753-1806)




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No. 7 from a set of 12 prints: Joshoku kaiko tewazagusa, showing women engaged in the sericulture (silkworm) industry. This was traditionally the domain of women. The colour scheme is red-avoiding (murasaki-e) using predominantly purple. This stage of the process shows the metamorphosis – the winged moth stage – when silkworms are used to lay eggs. This set is taken verbatim from the Shunsho/Shigemasa set of chuban prints, Kaiko yashinai-gusa. (See elsewhere on this site for a Shunsho example.) Published 1798-1800 by Tsuru-ya Kiemon.


Fine impression. Fine colour, perfectly retained. Very good condition; full size. Signed Utamaro hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A beauty in sumptuous clothing from a fine set of seventy numbered prints with title: Sankai medetai zu, “Excellences of Mountain and Sea.” The set compares busts of beautiful women with various products and occupations from the provinces of Japan. This is number 3, Tamba, and shows men fishing at night with the aid of flares. The set published 1852 by Sano-ya Kihei.


Very fine impression and colour with strong burnishing on collar. Fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A beauty reading a program while a cat dozes beside her. From a fine set of seventy numbered prints with title: Sankai medetai zu, “Excellences of Mountain and Sea.” The set compares busts of beautiful women with various products and occupations from the provinces of Japan. This is number 19. Catching octopuses, Takasago in Banshu [Harima] Province. The set published 1852 by Sano-ya Kihei.


Very good impression and colour. The cat’s fur blind-printed. Light album backing, otherwise good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Token Gonbei using a mirror to pluck his forehead (hitai). The style became known as Token hitai. From a set: Kuniyoshi moyo shofuda tsuki genkin otoko, “Men of Ready Money with True Labels Attached, Kuniyoshi Style.” These otokodates (a word that is difficult to translate but was a chivalrous commoner, a fashionable man-about-town, street-wise and ready to assist the oppressed). Gonbei is said to have beaten a barking token (Dutch hunting dog) to death with his bare hands – thus he got his name. Published c 1845 by Iba-ya Kyubei.


Very fine impression. Fine colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Sasai Kyuzo Masayasu (Sakai Kyuzo Narashige) enveloped in smoke and disintegrating before a volley of musketry at the battle of the Anegawa (1570). From the set Taiheiki yeiyuden, “Heroic Stories of the Taiheiki. A history of the wars of the loyalist Nitta and Kusunoki families against the Ashikaga war-lords during the second quarter of the fourteenth century. But in fact the subject of this set of fifty prints (this being 12, but not numbered) is the civil war of the late 16th century. Censorship restrictions imposed in the 1840s prevented publishers from illustrating historical subjects from the Tensho era 1573-92 onwards, so the publishers circumvented this by slightly altering the names of the historical figures. Published 1848-9 by Yamamoto-ya Heikichi. Robinson S62.36. The best design from the set.


Fine early impression. Fine colour. Slight nibbling to left edge, otherwise very good condition. Fine impression. Fine colour. Slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsushika HOKUSAI (1760-1849)




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A poem by Onakatomi no Yoshinobu Ason from Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki, the “Hundred Poems explained by the Wet Nurse.” Published by Nishimuraya Eijudo and Iseya Eijudo c 1835/6. Although obviously intended to be a set of 100 prints, only 27 are known plus drawings for the others. The poet speaks of his love being like a fire kept by guards at the Imperial Palace: It only burns hot at night. Shows a group of sleepy imperial guards with the fire burning low. The poet and servant are seen on the distant hill.


Very fine early impression. Fine colour and condition. (The small white area without colour top left should appear on every untrimmed genuine impression.) Signed Zen Hokusai manji (the manji seal black).

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsushika HOKUSAI (1760-1849)




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A poem by Kiyowara no Fukayabu from Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki, the “Hundred Poems explained by the Wet Nurse.” Published by Nishimuraya Eijudo and Iseya Eijudo c 1835/6. Although obviously intended to be a set of 100 prints, only 27 are known plus drawings for the others. The poet speaks of the shortness of the summer night and asks if the moon is still overhead or hidden by clouds. Shows an evening on the Sumida River with a large pleasure boat accompanied by a smaller craft and a vessel providing food.


Fine early impression. Fine colour. Slight centre fold, otherwise good condition. Signed Zen Hokusai manji (the manji seal black).

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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A surimono showing the kabuki actors, top right: Ichikawa Danjuro VII holding up a war banner decorated with a sasarindo (bamboo grass and gentian), the mon of the Minamoto clan and Iwai Hanshiro V wielding a large knife in an unidentified play. The poem mentions the Iwai and Ichikawa family names. Published c 1827-30.


Fine impression and colour with blind-printing, silver and gold. Signed in gold on the blue ground Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsukawa SHUNSHO (1726-1792)




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The actor Nakamura Tomijuro I in an unidentified female role holding a biwa (a lute-like musical instrument) underarm. Surprisingly not listed in The Life And Works Of Katsukawa Shunsho, Frederick William Gookin, which is the most comprehensive overview. Published c 1775/6.

Fine impression and colour. One small repaired wormhole, otherwise exceptional condition. Signed Shunsho ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE II (1826-1869)




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Akasaka kiribatake uchu sekikei, “Evening View of the Paulownia Plantation at Akasaka Under Rain.” This is the replacement design for Hiroshige I’s version Akasaka kiribatake for the Meisho Edo hyakkei, “One Hindred Views of Edo” published by Uoya Eikichi between 1856 and 1858. This design dated 1859. Presumably the blocks were damaged for the first composition. A fine design and superior to Hiroshige I’s.


Fine early impression with mica to sky. There is an extremely rare first edition of this print with an added gradation of yellow to square cartouche and gradation on the yellow fence at left and roofs at right. Otherwise, the impressions are the same. The gradation in the background is particularly fine here. Fine colour. Slight soil to margin, otherwise very good condition. Signed Nisei Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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An important two-fold screen, Yamatotakeruno mikoto at Mount Azuma. Yamatotakeru was the beautiful but fiery tempered third son of the Emperor Keikou (71B.C.-130 A.D.) He also had magical powers given to him by his aunt. His father decided to send him to the Eastern Provinces to subdue the barbarians. On the way aboard a boat, they encountered a violent storm. His wife, Ota-tachibana, threw herself in the sea to appease the Gods and drowned. Yamatotakeru continues his journey and reaches a rocky landscape. He gazes south east and in memory of his wife repeats three times “Azuma haya” (My wife, alas). Thus the mountain and area became known as Azuma. This is the scene Yoshitoshi depicts with Yamatotakeru surrounded by his entourage, gazing ahead, his long hair flowing. (He was able to pass as a woman in disguise, evidently.) Yoshitoshi had a jagged style of drawing and painting and the multitude of craggy outcrops allow him to fully indulge himself.

Full colour on silk, each panel 39.75 x 25 in; 101 x 63.5 cms. Extremely good condition. Signed Kinzaburo Yoshitoshi ga with blurred seal but reading Go Kaisai. Extremely rare.


Status: Sold




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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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An original painting, Hokosorori zu, showing Sorori Shinzaemon (at bottom) and Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598). Sororai was a sword sheath maker and otogishu to Hideyoshi (storyteller to attending provincial lords). “Sorori” means smooth and quiet, the name given to him because any sword fit his sheaths so perfectly. The episode depicted concerns Hideyoshi lamenting the fact that his face looked like a monkey. Sorori cleverly tells him that he is lucky that monkeys respect him to such a degree that they try to look like him. Hideyoshi enjoys the reply and inquires what he would like as a reward. Sorori asks him for a grain of rice to be doubled-up every day for one hundred days. After this period Hideyoshi realises his mistake and demands that Sorori change the reward.


Full colour on silk, image size 34.75 x 11.5 in; 88.2 x 29.2 cms. In very good condition. Beautiful mount. Signed Yoshitoshi with Taiso seal.


Status: Sold




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Keisai EISEN (1790-1848)




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The courtesan Hanaoka of the Sanomatsuya House in the Shin Yoshiwara looking out at the rain and holding a poem slip. Episode Amagoi from a Seven Komachi set: Shin Yoshiwara yugimi nana Komachi. The set based on the seven episodes in the life of the famous 9th century poetess Ono no Komachi. Published by Tsuta-ya, c 1830.


Very good impression. This is the first state with gradation in the sky and at the end of Hanaoka’s robe. Superb, unfaded colour. Fine condition; full size. Signed Keisai Eisen ga.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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A bust portrait of the onnagata actor Nakamura Matsue III as the courtesan Akoya. A part he played at the Nakamura theatre, 9/1814, in the play Dannoura kabuto gunki, Battle Tale of Dannoura.” The story tells of Akoya’s loyalty to her Heike lover Taira no Kagekiyo when on being captured she convinces Kagekiyo’s enemies of her ignorance of his hiding place aided by her exquisite music. From Kunisada’s finest set: Oatari kyoden no uchi, “Great Performances.” A set of seven prints of celebrated roles of the previous eight years selected from the Oatari kyoden, “Big Hits.” Sumptuously produced with mica grounds which had not been used for twenty years. Exceedingly rare, on a par with many Sharaku prints. Published by Fukusendo, c 1815. Another impression is in the Museo d’Arte Orientale “Edoardo Chiossone,” Genoa ( S1396 ) and a second is in the Ronald Cavaye collection.


Fine impression. Turning of colour towards bottom right, otherwise good colour. Mica good. Slight staining au verso which shows through mica, otherwise good condition. Full size. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.


Status: Sold

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Kitao SHIGEMASA (1739-1820)




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A chuban print. No. 7 from Kaiko yashinai gusa, the occupation of silk worm cultivation. Shows girls watching the moths laying eggs on a piece of paper. No publisher given but published 1772. Even better known as a book illustrator. Also an accomplished painter.


Fine impression. Very good colour. Fine condition. Signed Shigemasa ga.


Status: Sold

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Isoda KORYUSAI (Active c 1764-1788)




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The courtesan Handayu of Naka-Omiya seated at a writing desk attended by two accolytes. From a superb, large series: Hinagata wakanano hatsu moyo, “Models for Fashion: New Year Designs as Fresh as Young Leaves.” Published by Nishimura Eijudo, c 1776-7. Yoshida catalogues this set in Ukiyo-e, no. 26. A beautiful deluxe print.


Superb impression on thick hosho. Very slight fading of red and expertly repaired binding holes near left edge, otherwise very good condition. Koryusai ga.


Status: Sold

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Chokosai EISHO (active 1790s)




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An aiban showing the seated courtesan Somenosuke of Matsubaya reading a hand scroll. From the set Kakuchu bijin-kisoi, “Three Patron Saints of Poetry in the Gay Quarters.” Eisho was the most successful of Eishi’s pupils. Published c 1790s by Yamaguchi Chusuke. Another from the set illustrated in A Treasury of Japanese Wood Block Prints, Sadao Kikuchi, no 694. Illustrated in Ukiyo-e Taikei, vol. 6, no. 216.


Very good impression and colour. Thinned area top border, otherwise very good condition. Signed Eisho ga.


Status: Sold

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Torii KIYONAGA (1752-1815)




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A chuban print showing two geisha, one seated with a loose yukata, the other standing beside her. Choka no sekisho, “The Afterglow of Late Summer” from an early set: Shiki hakkei, “Eight Scenes of the Four Seasons.” Published 1779 by Eiju han. Illustrated in Images of Eighteenth-Century Japan, David Waterhouse, ROM, 1975, no. 95, p. 149 and Hirano, Kiyonaga, Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston, 1939, no. 185 and pl. XVI. ( Chie Hirano is the standard source on Kiyonaga and she illustrates the complete set. )


Fine impression. Some “turning” of colours, otherwise very good condition. Signed Kiyonaga ga.


Status: Sold

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Ippitsusai BUNCHO (1763-1840)




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A chuban print showing a beauty standing on a balcony adjusting a comb in her hair. She gazes at a ferry crossing the Sumida River in rain. One of a series with title on an ink-cake top right: Bokusui hakkei, “Eight Views of Inky Water” ( “Inky Water” being the colloquial term given to the Sumida River ); sub-title: Hashiba no yora no ame, “Evening Rain at Hashiba.” Ex Gonse collection, first sale, no. 13, pl. 2 ( seal au verso ) and Vever collection, Sotheby & Co, Part II, 1975, lot 101 ( seal bottom right ). Extremely rare. A much trimmed impression is in T.N.M., vol. 1, no. 827.


Fine impression. Some “turning” of colours, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ippitsusai Buncho ga with Mori uji seal.


Status: Sold

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Isoda KORYUSAI (Fl. c 1764–1788)




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A chuban print entitled Yu, “Evening,” showing the courtesan Matsushita of Matsubaya with two acolytes. Koryusai was an ex samurai. Well known for excellent and rare kacho and some fine hashira-e. Published c early 1770s. Ex collection Paul-Louis de la Noe, 1879-1919, ( an acquaintance of the Goncourt brothers, Bing and Hayashi ). Rare.


Fine impression. Fine well retained fugitive pigments. Slight soil at bottom, otherwise very good condition. Signed Koryu ga.


Status: Sold

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Nishimura SHIGENAGA (1697 ? –1756)




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The centre sheet of a triptych: Sampuku –tsui, Yashiki fu, “A set of Three Prints in the Style of a Grand House.” Shows a young beauty holding a wooden box, a sprig of cherry blossom and a flower in a paper holder. An important artist, teacher and innovator. Urushi-e, coloured by hand: Beni, mustard, yellow and blue with extensive gold powder and heavy lacquered sumi over embossed lines. Published c 1730 by Hammoto, Motohama-cho, Iga-ya. Ex collection Walter von Scheven, 1878 – 1950, and purchased by him from Altkunst, Berlin in 1925. Illustrated as frontispiece in J. Kurth, Die Primitiven des Japanholzschnitts, Dresden, 1922. A beautiful example of the artist’s work. A beautiful and extremely rare print.


Fine impression. Very slight soil and edge repaired wormage, otherwise very good condition. Signed Nihon gako Nishimura Shigenaga hitsu.


Status: Sold

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Katsukawa SHUNCHO (Active c 1780–1795)




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A double okubi-e showing the sumo wrestler Tanikaze juxtaposed to the oiran Okita. A superb composition. Of the utmost rarity: Another impression is illustrated in V. & I., 1911, no. 231, pl. LI, SCI/224. Impressions of the companion print, showing Onogawa and Takashima Ohisa are catalogued in Hillier, Japanese Prints & Drawings From The Vever Collection, Volume Two, Sothebys 1976, no. 519, p. 497; Tokyo National Museum, TNM, vol. 2, no. 1722, and British Museum ( illustrated Hillier, Japanese Masters of the Colour Print, 1954, pl. 56 ). Published by Tsuruki c 1792. Ex collection Walter von Scheven, 1878 – 1950, and bought by him from Heinrich Tiedemann, Berlin in 1927.


Very good impression and colour. Light yellow ground. Very minor soil, otherwise extremely good condition. Probably the best copy extant. Signed Shuncho ga.


Status: Sold

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Eishosai CHOKI (Active c 1780–1810)




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An elegant young entertainer beside her samisen box. Top left is a ballad that she presumably sang. While producing some mundane work, Choki also designed some of the most exquisite ukiyoe. Extremely rare: Another impression is illustrated in the Catalogue of Inaugural Exhibition of Riccar Art Museum, no. 42 and a second example is in the Tokyo National Museum, illustrated in A Treasury Of Japanese Wood Block Prints, Sadao Kikuchi, 1968, no. 640. Published by Tsuruya Kiemon, c 1795. Ex collection Walter von Scheven, 1878 – 1950, and purchased by him at Alfred Kappes, Ludwigshafen in 1925.


Fine impression. Very slight fading and minor fold marks, otherwise very good condition. Signed Choki ga.


Status: Sold

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Kikugawa EIZAN (1787-1867)




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A double bust portrait showing the courtesans Takigawa and Hanaogi from the Yoshiwara house Ogiya. An early print ( Eizan being 21 ) published 1808 by Kikakudo. Rare.


Fine impression. Fine, totally unfaded colour. Slight browning and light creasing. Full size. Signed Kikugawa Eizan hitsu.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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A young girl seated to have her photograph taken, the plate camera with dark cloth draped over, to the right. From a series Kaika ninjo kagami, “A Mirror of Modern Manners and Customs,” sub-title “Photographs.” Photography took off quickly in Japan and there were a considerable number of photographic studios in Tokyo in the 1870’s. However, there are only a few prints as early as this showing cameras. Published 1878.


Very fine impression with extensive burnishing. Fine colour. Minor trimming and light album backing. Signed Toyohara Kunichika fude.


Status: Sold

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Kubo SHUNMAN (1757–1820)




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Mishima, or Toi, Province of Settsu. The best design from an exquisite set of six prints showing graceful young women, girls and, in two instances, young men representing the Six Crystal ( Tama ) Rivers. These streams were noted for the purity of their water. The prints are in benigirai style, “red avoiding”, a technique pioneered by Shunman, Eishi and Shuncho. Shows a seated girl fulling cloth ( hence Toi which is the alternative name of the river and the word for beating cloth ) with three other beauties near the village of Mishima. A light shower passes by in the background. Shunman, a man of great sophistication, designed only a few prints before concentrating on surimono and printing and issuing some of the finest in this format. ( See The Japanese Print A New Approach, J. Hillier, pp. 102 – 104: “Probably no artist except Choki has achieved so high a reputation on such a small number of prints.” ) He also excelled at painting, book illustration and light verse. Published by Fushimiya Zenroku, c 1787. ( A later edition was issued by Tsutaya with less harmonious colours. ) One of the most beautiful 18th century sets, and together with a night triptych showing people returning from a poetry reading, is considered his masterpiece. Rare.


Fine impression. The centre female’s kimono blind-printed. Very good colour: printed only in tones of grey, light yellow and light pink, with touches of light red on the tree’s leaves. Very small repaired wormhole, otherwise extremely good condition with extra paper at left. Probably untrimmed ( whereas illustrated examples all seem to be trimmed somewhere ). Signed Shunman with seal Shunman.


Status: Sold

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