Kiyochika: Portrait of Okubo Toshimichi
Artist: Kobayashi Kiyochika
Title: Portrait of Okubo Toshimichi
Date: ca. 1878
“Portrait of the Late Home Minister, Lord Okubo Toshimichi, Awarded Senior Second Rank, Great Minister of the Right.” Experimental portrait modeled after a photograph of the recently assassinated official. As Smith points out “Clearly under the influence of Western painting, Kiyochika has provided a window as a frame, on the edge of which Okubo rests his elbow casually. The window itself is framed by roses on the right (the major stem abruptly pruned off) and by the yellow-blossomed yamabuki to the left and above”. There was also a coat of some type of shiny varnish-like substance applied to this example, to further mimic a Western portrait. Extremely rare, as apparently at the time it sold extremely poorly as the man was not a popular leader.
Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Some trimming and rubbing. Note that even the Muller example is trimmed.
Publisher: Matsuki Heikichi
Literature: See Henry Smith II “Kiyochika: Artist of Meiji Japan”, page 29, plate 16.
Signature: Kobayashi Kiyochika ga