Kunisada: Seated Beauty with Cat

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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada 歌川国貞 (1786-1864)
Title: Seated Beauty with Cat
Series: A Collection of Famous Restaurants of Modern Times (Tōji kōmei kaiseki zukushi) (当時高名会席尽)
Date: Ca. 1822

A beautiful courtesan seems to be settling in for a night by herself, her cat tucked in close to her for company.  Her extra-black hair is smooth and glossy, held by a few ornaments, and contrasts with the soft grey lines that have been used for the contours of her face. She sits near a hibachi that holds a large teapot and other items. A single teacup on the side has the toshidama pattern that Kunisada used as his seal for his work. The courtesan bends her neck forward and rubs her left hand on her right arm, a gesture of being bored on a lonely winter night. Her pet cat, wearing a red collar and bell, is purring behind her as if it is sympathizing with her long night without a guest. She wears wataire, a thickly padded gown, with pattern of sho-o-chiku-bai, pine-bamboo-plum, a pattern for a happy occasion.  Over the gown, she seems to have a red shawl with a chained circle pattern. Early Kunisada prints like this one that are signed “Gototei” are considered the artist’s finest work.

In the komae/cartouche is the name of a restaurant Oni/Ki? 鬼? in the district of Horie-cho. According to the Ukiyoe jiten, this series consists of about 30 prints with the early Gototei Kunisada signature, all published by Yamaguchi Tōbei. 

With perfect, unfaded color on a large, untrimmed paper sheet.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. As perfect as a 200-year-old print can be.
Dimensions: ôban 38.8 x 26 cm
Publisher: Yamaguchi Tobei
Literature: Haraki Ukiyo-e Foundation, Cats of Many Varieties (2012), #61. See MFA for another example (this example in superior condition).
Signature: Gototei Kunisada ga