Itō Shinsui 伊東深水: Kuchi-e of a Beauty Holding a Powder Brush

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Artist: Itō Shinsui 伊東深水
Title: Beauty Holding a Powder Brush
Date: ca. 1910s-20s

A young beauty seems to pause, deep in thought, in the process of applying powder to her face. Behind her is a strongly patterned floral composition. This work would have been included with a magazine (kuchi-e), hence the folds for insertion. The Japanese at the time used several types of offset and lithographic printing as well as a combination of these; this work seems to have been created using offset lithography, a combination of the two processes. Shinsui’s powers of composition and design are are strong as every in these prints, which are extremely affordable compared to his Taisho era limited-edition woodblock prints, which easily run into the five figures.

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. The usual kuchi-e folds.
Dimensions: 35 x 19 cm
Literature: See Kendall Brown’s “Dangerous Beauties and Dutiful Wives, Popular Portraits of Women in Japan, 1905-1925” for a discussion of similar kuchi-e as well as the printing techniques.
Signature: Shinsui