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Special Collection - Various Artists
This page displays our special collection of ukiyo-e prints (not for sale currently). These prints represent a variety of artists and genres. Prints that we think are exceptional aesthetically and/or thematically. There's no particular order in the presentation.
Two prints by Kunichika from a rare series "Pride of Glossy Makeup" 艶姿化粧自慢 Published by Iseki, in 1866. The women are in the process of applying makeup. The bold background images include icons of cosmetic companies. Is this an advertisement for them, a commentary on female vanity, or just an intimate portrait of women in various stages of beautification?
This was a great find, original sketches by Kunichika for his Okubi-e (large head) actor portraits series. These were purchased from a German museum collection. This series was influenced by the Kunisada okubi-e of 1860 - 64. Kunichika returned to this style only once more in a small series of okubi-e in 1894.
This is one of those pictures that once seen cannot be easily forgotten. It's by Kuniteru Utagawa "Otaru Zenibako, the strangeness of the Kou (Sting Ray) fish". Utagawa Kuniteru was an artist in the tradition of the Utagawa school. Born in Tokyo, he studied under both Kunisada and Toyokuni I. He produced prints of a wide variety of subjects, including many depicting the increasing Western influence on Japan, with his main output taking the form of book illustrations and single-sheet ukiyo-e.
An unusual series of actor prints by Kunichika called "Actors Back Stage". These intimate images reinforce the relationships that Kunichika had with leading actors of the time. (from left to right) Ichikawa Danjuro IX Being Cooled by an Unseen Attendant Fanning Him, Actor Onoe Kikugoro in the dressing room, Gennosuke IV in the dressing room preparing for a female role. These were published by Toyokichi Sasaki in 1888, so toward the end of Kunichika's career, still they look quite modern in composition and style.
A bold print by Kunichika from a series that contrasted old Japan with new Western innovations. In this case, the umbrella that is also being worn as a cape. The actor is Ichikawa Sadanji. Date: 1877
Kunichika: From the series "Six Famous Places of Tokyo" (Tokyo Meisho Rokassen no Uchi) Published by Sasaki Toyokichi in 1890. (From left to right) "Benten no Ume Nakamura Kojiro - Ueno. Compound of Benten shrine in Shinobazu pond in Ueno. Next is Kabuki actor Onoe Kikugoro in the role of Shinobazu no Okiku, the unscrupulous chrysanthemum" She is drying herself after a rain shower. Last print has yet to be identified.