Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/256

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JAPANESE COLOUR-PRINTS

fidelity, and most of them, like their master, cultivated actor prints. But it will be necessary, before speaking of the individual pupils, to advert to two contemporaries and rivals of Shunsho, who can hardly be separated from him, as, though working entirely in his spirit, they form, through the peculiarity of their nature, a necessary complement to the manner of that artist. They are Buncho and Toyoharu.

(Itsu­) (hitsu­) (sai ) (Bun­)調 (cho)Ippitsusai Buncho, like his rival Shunsho, reached his culmination in the beginning of the seventies.[1] He died in 1796. His surname was Kishi, his name in art Uyemon. He was a pupil of Ishikawa Kogen. But whereas Shunsho aimed at violent motion and robust colour in his actor representations, and therefore often became angular and hard, though always impressive, Buncho strove to achieve a soft flow of line and delicate colouring, to which his favourite subject, actors in women's parts, was more especially adapted. His sheets are perhaps the most delicate and gracious of all Japanese art and are distinguished both by exceptional sharpness and fineness of drawing, and by a harmony and elegance of colour grouping which can scarcely be surpassed. With a lustrous, yet restful green and red he was fond of combining the most delicate gradations of grey, so as to produce an extraordinarily harmonious whole. The strong effects of black and brick red, which appear particularly in the early part of Shunsho's work, are seldom to be found in Buncho. As, like Harunobu, he chose the colours for his prints with great care, they have generally preserved their full freshness of tint, and yet their effect is as mild as that elsewhere attained only by works whose colours have been gradually harmonised by exposure to light. As examples of his genre pictures, the following may be given:—

  • A girl smoking on a balcony.
  • A girl looking at a hototogisu (night cuckoo).

  1. Fenollosa Cat., Nos. 181, 182, 184; Bing Cat., No. 170 ff.; Hayashi Cat.