TOSHUSAI SHARAKU (ACTIVE 1794–1795), EDO PERIOD, 18TH CENTURY | ACTOR BANDÔ HIKOSABURÔ III AS SAGISAKA SANAIA
THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
TOSHUSAI SHARAKU (ACTIVE 1794–1795), EDO PERIOD, 18TH CENTURY
ACTOR BANDÔ HIKOSABURÔ III AS SAGISAKA SANAIA
woodblock print: ink, colour, and mica on paper, signed Tôshûsai Sharaku ga, published by Tsutaya Jûzaburô (Kôshodô), censor's seal kiwame, 1794
38.5 x 25.5 cm., 15¼ x 10⅛ in.
- As can be seen in the photograph, there is slight wear on the paper as the mica background is worn.
- There is a small stain at bottom of right-hand side of his face and few marks on his hand.
- Some fading of colour.
- Otherwise, good impression and condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
This print is a half-length depiction of Bandô Hikosaburô III during his portrayal of Sagisaka Sanai holding a lamp in his right hand in a scene from the play Koi Nyôbô Somewake Tazuna performed at the Kawarazaki-za in the fifth month, Kansei 6 (1794). The actor’s face dramatically dominates the print on the simple mica background.
Despite the contemporary appreciation of the artist Tōshūsai Sharaku, his artistic career as an ukiyo-e designer was short lived and lasted only from 1794 to 1795. While a number of drawings for prints presumably never reached the publishing stage, he designed around 140 prints depicting exclusively Kabuki actors, the theatre and sumo wrestlers. His work was highly criticized by his contemporaries in Edo up to a degree where his publisher Tsutaya Juzaburo decided not to sponsor the artist in a highly competitive, lucrative print market. The rejection of Sharaku’s work was nearly unanimous and this perhaps accounts for the fact that no records concerning his life or even his identity have been discovered until today.
Similar prints are in numerous museum collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 21.5827, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession no. JP2823, and the British Museum, accession no. 1909,0618,0.35.