Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/337

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THE PERIOD OF UTAMARO

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according to the Chinese reading (on). He is said to have been Utamaro's fellow-pupil under Sekiyen, but he was probably influenced by Kiyonaga, so that it is not impossible that he was the latter's pupil. At first he also signed himself Shiko and sometimes, later, Yeishosai. About 1790 he came forward with fully developed powers and so closely approached Utamaro in the types which the latter was then employing that it is possible sometimes to confuse him with Utamaro. His slenderly proportioned but always graceful figures are characterised by especial refinement. He gives us pictures of beautiful women in full length, half-length, and head-and-shoulders, on mica backgrounds, and he is in addition remarkable for the beauty and tastefulness of his colouring. It is significant of his connection with Sharaku that he represents on one of his prints a girl with a palm-leaf fan, which contains a likeness of Sharaku (Hayashi Catalogue, No. 923). Later on, as his powers declined, he attached himself to Yeishi. His series entitled Seiro niwaka zensei asobi, Entertainments of the Blossom of the Green Houses, on metal ground, has a reputation. An illustrated book by him appeared at Yedo in 1795 (new edition in 1803). Illustrations in Hayashi Catalogue (Nos. 931, 925).

(To­) (shu­) (sai ) (Sha­) (raku) Toshusai Sharaku demands a place to himself at this time. He is an artist who is said to have worked but for a few years, and who produced in this short period a number of quarter-length and full-length figures of actors, mostly in large size and in very peculiar, grotesque, but exceedingly delicate drawing, and especially in altogether unique colour-tones and harmonies.[1] In regard to his estimate of this artist, Fenollosa stands in complete opposition to the French collectors. He agrees with Anderson, who held that Sharaku drew less correctly than any of his contemporaries, in describing him as vulgar and repulsive, and in recognising in his degraded types a proof that Kiyonaga, had his

  1. Anderson Cat, p. 345; Fenollosa Cat., No. 357; Bing Cat, No. 311 ff.