Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/206

This page has been validated.

90

JAPANESE COLOUR-PRINTS

all, even the older generation of masters still alive, immediately took up the production of such prints. Shigenaga himself never tired of developing this technique further, endeavouring after ever new effects by varying the grading or contrasts of the colours, by change in the patterning, by blind printing. In the beginning of the fifties his art reached its high-water mark, while Kiyomitsu at the same time continued the style of Kiyonobu. The subjects that he treated were similar to those of Masanobu, single figures of women and scenes of social life, mostly in triptych form, which, however, were no longer rigidly divided into three separate parts, but represent a continuous composition. As he also produced three-colour prints and died as early as 1756, it is clear that they must have been invented before this time and not towards the end of the fifties, as was assumed in the first edition. Fenollosa mentions one of his large sheets printed in this style, representing the interior of a hall, in which, besides the two colours, rose and green, yellow is employed by way of transition to white, in addition to the black contour-block. He thinks it very probable that Shigenaga, having invented the two-colour print, may have discovered the three-colour print as well. It is true that a print of this kind cannot be assigned to about 1759, as Fenollosa assumed, but must have been produced several years earlier. Illustrations of his works in the Hayashi Catalogue (Nos. 304, 305, 313), which also mentions books illustrated by him (Nos. 1464 seqq.), beginning with about 1735. As to his possible identity with Mangosaburo, see the end of Chapter III., § 3.

As his pupils, Toyonobu and, later on especially, Harunobu and Shigemasa are to be mentioned. It is not certain that Akiyama Sadaharu was a pupil of Shigenaga, but Fenollosa thinks it possible; he cites a black and white print by him dating from the middle of the fifth decade, and gives him the testimonial that, had he worked longer, he would very