Toyokuni I

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Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Bando Mitsugoro, Iwai Hanshiro and Ichikawa Yoazo, 1804

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Bando Mitsugoro, Iwai Hanshiro and Ichikawa Yoazo, 1804

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Iwai Hanshiro V (1776 - 1847) as Osome from Osome Hisamatsu no Yomiuri, c.1813

Toyokuni I, Iwai Hanshiro V as Osome

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Iwai Hanshiro V (1776 - 1847) as Osome from Osome Hisamatsu no Yomiuri , c.1813. Oban. Click here for a detailed enlargement. A companion to the previous piece, this fine actor portrait shows an actor in the role of Osome from the drama Osome Hisamatsu no Yomiuri . Osome is the daughter of a wealthy pawnbroker. She secretly and against the wishes of her family, loves the apprentice Hisamatsu. There follows a long and complex love story and intrigue ending…

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Bando Mitsugoro as a Samurai Subduing a Tiger, 1810’s.

Toyokuni I, Bando Mitsugoro as a Samurai Subduing a Tiger

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Bando Mitsugoro as a Samurai Subduing a Tiger , 1810’s. Oban. A sensational and very unusual Toyokuni print from the beginning of the nineteenth century. Toyokuni was probably the most influential individual on the whole of the ukiyo-e scene for an entire century. From his school flows the style, the genres and the artists that dominated woodblock prints until they ceased to be a popular art form. In this very rare print we see the origins of the musha-e…

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Eleventh Act, The Chushingura Drama in Perspective View, 1790

Toyokuni I, Act 11 of The Chushingura in Perspective View

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Eleventh Act, The Chushingura Drama in Perspective View , 1790. Oban yoko-e. Click here for a full-size image. This is a very rare and beautiful print. Very old of course, coming from the eighteenth century and representing an unusual genre of prints called ukie ; for these ukie works, artists utilised a Western method of linear perspective that was introduced to Japan at that time. This Western method of perspective drawing revealed a natural view, which w

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Matana Goro Kagehisa fighting Sanada no Yoichi Yoshitada, c.1810’s

Toyokuni I, Matana Goro Kagehisa fighting Sanada no Yoichi Yoshitada

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Matana Goro Kagehisa fighting Sanada no Yoichi Yoshitada , c.1810’s. Oban. Click here for a detailed enlargement. Toyokuni is best known for his mastery and dominance of the early kabuki theatre print in the opening decades of the nineteenth century. He is less well known for his contribution to musha-e or warrior prints. Toyokuni is curiously unsung; he was a contemporary of the revered 'classical' ukiyo-e artists but was key in making the transition to t

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Portrait of Onoe Kikugoro III as Juro Sukenari, from the series Actors and Modern Mirrors, 1823 - 1825

Toyokuni I, Portrait of Onoe Kikugoro III as Juro Sukenari

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Portrait of Onoe Kikugoro III as Juro Sukenari, from the series Actors and Modern Mirrors , 1823 - 1825. Oban. We are very pleased to show two actor portraits by Toyokuni I from a rare series and which form a fine pair - mirrors in both senses of the word. This first, is of Onoe Kikugoro III as Juro Sukenari. Toyokuni used mirrors (an early use of the device) to show reflections of actors in role, in this case portraits of the two famous Soga brothers of the…

Toyokuni I, Portrait of Ichikawa Danjuro VII as Soga No Goro

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Portrait of Ichikawa Danjuro VII as Soga No Goro from the series Actors and Modern Mirrors , 1823 - 1825. Oban. We are very pleased to show two actor portraits by Toyokuni I from a rare series and which form a fine pair - mirrors in both senses of the word. This second, is of Ichikawa Danjuro VII as Soga No Goro. Toyokuni used mirrors (an early use of the device) to show reflections of actors in role, in this case portraits of the two famous Soga brothers of…

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) A Panel from the Shunga Album Kaichu Kagami, 1823

Toyokuni I, A Panel from the Shunga Album Kaichu Kagami

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) A Panel from the Shunga Album Kaichu Kagami , 1823. Oban Diptych. We don’t show shunga very often since it is a specialist field; however, this very nice piece constitutes one panel of two, conjoined sheets from a highly regarded album by the founder of the Utagawa School, Toyokuni I. The album, Ehon Kaichu Kagami , featured in both the British Museum Shunga show of 2014 and Phaidon’s Poem of the Pillow and other Stories , where many of the plates

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Sawamura Gennosuke as Ume no Yoshibei from the play Suda no Haru Geisha Katagi, c.1800

Toyokuni I, Sawamura Gennosuke as Ume no Yoshibei

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Sawamura Gennosuke as Ume no Yoshibei from the play Suda no Haru Geisha Katagi , c.1800. Chutansaku ban. Click here for a detailed enlargement. This slight print is an outstanding example of Toyokuni I’s portraiture. It is in the unusual chutansaku ban format (38cm x 13cm) and is from the end of the eighteenth century, having still the remnants of the classical period in its design, drawing and delicate colour. The print shows the actor Sawamura Gennosuke a

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Nakamura Daikichi, Bando Mitsugoro III, and Nakamura Utaemon in a Kabuki Play, c.1820

Toyokuni I, Kabuki Triptych

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Nakamura Daikichi, Bando Mitsugoro III, and Nakamura Utaemon in a Kabuki Play , c.1820. Oban Triptych. Click here for a detailed enlargement. It is very unusual to find a triptych by Toyokuni I, especially in the outstanding condition seen here. Toyokuni pretty much established the triptych format for kabuki dramas. Multi sheet prints were not uncommon as far back as the eighteenth century, often used for showing long and showy processions of women and so…

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Actor Portrait, 1810’s

Toyokuni I, Actor Portrait

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Actor Portrait , 1810’s. Oban. An exceptionally beautiful print by Toyokuni 1st from the early 1810’s. The print depicts an unidentified actor in a black robe carrying two swords under a cherry tree. The state of preservation of the fugitive vegetable colours is superb (especially and unusually the delicate wine-red) and the piece has a terrific freshness and quality unusual for the period. This is a hugely elegant and typical print by Toyokuni. The colour

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Portrait of The Kabuki actor Bando Mitsugoro III as Dozaemon Denkichi, 1813

Toyokuni I, Portrait of Bando Mitsugoro III as Dozaemon Denkichi

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Portrait of The Kabuki actor Bando Mitsugoro III as Dozaemon Denkichi , 1813. Oban. Click here for a detailed enlargement. This is a very striking portrait of the famous kabuki actor Bando Mitsugoro. Toyokuni was the founder of the influential Utagawa school and the artist who made the actor print the phenomenon it would become in the nineteenth century. This print takes full advantage of deluxe techniques using burnishing, lacquer and embossing. It is a…

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Women and Carriage, c. 1805

Toyokuni I, Women and Carriage

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Women and Carriage , c. 1805. Toyokuni is perhaps most associated with actor prints, a genre that he helped create and develop into a massive industry in nineteenth century Japan. Toyokuni responded to the growing public obsession with kabuki actors and the bulk of his output after 1810 (often criticised these days) is of stars of the kabuki stage. His earlier work was in the tradition of the eighteenth century ukiyo artists such as Utamaro, later…

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Bando Mitsugoro III as Daihanji no Kiyosumi in the play Imoseyama Onna Teikin, 1818.

Toyokuni I, Bando Mitsugoro III as Daihanji no Kiyosumi

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Bando Mitsugoro III as Daihanji no Kiyosumi in the play Imoseyama Onna Teikin , 1818. Oban. Click here for a detailed enlargement. A superb print with outstanding colour by Toyokuni I, the founder of the Utagawa School and the father of nineteenth century ukiyo-e. Really, without the business sense and the drive of Toyokuni, it is hard to imagine how the art of woodblock printing could have flourished. Through skilful use of connections with publishers…

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Sawamura Genosuke as Hosogawa Katsumoto from the play Date Kurabe Okuni Kabuki, c.1808

Toyokuni I, Sawamura Genosuke as Hosogawa Katsumoto

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Sawamura Genosuke as Hosogawa Katsumoto from the play Date Kurabe Okuni Kabuki , c.1808. Oban. Click here for a detailed enlargement. A quite superb print by Toyokuni I of the Judge Hosogawa Katsumoto played by Sawamura Genosuke from one of the many kabuki dramas about the pantomime villain Nikki Danjo. Strikingly, in this piece, the colours remain very bold and exceptionally, the fugitive mauve remains completely intact. Danjo is the anti-hero of the…

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Ichikawa Danjuro as a Flower Seller, c.1810’s

Toyokuni I, Ichikawa Danjuro as a Flower Seller

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Ichikawa Danjuro as a Flower Seller , c.1810’s. Oban. This is a rather beautiful theatre print from Toyokuni I, the father of the Tokugawa School and teacher of the best of the nineteenth century Japanese artists. It shows Ichikawa Danjuro as a flower seller from a kabuki drama. Delicately drawn and classically simple it is a lovely and subtle piece with beautiful coloration. The surface of the print is embossed. Full size, very good colour and condition…