Itō Shinsui 伊東深水: Applying Makeup (Keshô)

Itō Shinsui

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Artist: Itō Shinsui 伊東深水

Title: Applying Makeup (Keshô)
Series: Twelve Forms of New Beauties (Shin bijin jûni sugata)
Date: 1922, Spring

A beauty has lowered her dressing robe to apply powder to her neck, her gaze thoughtful and contemplative. The outlines of her body suggest volume, with the softest pink applied to the creamy smooth skin to round out certain areas and give depth to the face and hands. The background has been done with a technique that shows the edges of the printing baren, which offers contrast to the smooth skin. The deep orange lining of the robe also provides contrast. This design was chosen as the cover image of “Seven Masters” by Andreas Marks, 2015. With the limited edition seal, verso out of an edition of 200. Scarce pre-earthquake design. The pink on the woman’s hands, face and body are often faded on this work, unlike here with this example. As Lawrence Smith wrote in 1994:

“This series (1922-3) was the most important produced by the young Shinsui for Watanabe before the 1923 earthquake and fire, which destroyed the blocks and existing stocks of prints. Those done after the resumption of production rarely recaptured the tactile quality of printing, which can be seen very clearly in this example in the whorling marks of the printer's 'baren' on the background grey, as well as the almost three-dimensional feeling of the kimono with its tie-dyed patterns. A thicker paper was also used by the publisher Watanabe for these pre-earthquake works.”

Condition: Fine impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: 43 cm x 26.7 cm
Publisher: Watanabe Shôzaburô
Literature: Andreas Marks, Seven Masters: 20th Century Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Wells Collection, 2015, cover image and plate 60. Tadasu Watanabe, Ito Shinsui: All the Woodblock Prints, 1992, p. 59, pl.52 . Reigle Newland, Amy, and Hamanaka Shinji, The female image: 20th century prints of Japanese beauties, 2000, p. 54, pl. 33. 
Seal: Shinsui
Signature: Shinsui saku


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