Nakayama Shuko: May, Early Summer Rain (Gogatsu, Samidare)

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Artist: Nakayama Shuko (born 1876, active ca. 1920-1936)
Title: May, Early Summer Rain (Gogatsu, Samidare)

Series: Collection of New Ukiyo-e Style Beauties 新浮世絵美人合 
Date: Ca. 1924

A beauty pauses beneath a tree as she opens her umbrella, her face a perfect white against the spring green background as the gentle curtain of rain parts to reveal her visage. This artist was known for their paintings of beautiful women in the Taisho period, and may have been a student of Toshikata, although there is almost no biographical information about them. There is a 2nd version of this print which shortens the print title to Samidare, (without Gogatsu) in the series title (an example of that version is in the Honolulu Museum collection). 

According to a note from the publishers (which accompanied a different impression), the hair and face required sixty impressions, and overall the printer had to print 100 impressions to obtain the beauty of this result. The hair is indeed impressive, with the layers of printing creating realistic volume. The series title in the first cartouche on the upper right margin reads “Shin ukiyo-e bijin awase”, the title in the next cartouche reads “Go-gatsu, Samidare”, followed by the artist's name, "Nakayama Shuko ga hitsu". On the verso is the “Made in Japan” seal which was required for prints intended for export in the late 1920s until the mid 1930s.

Dimensions: 44 x 28.2
Publisher: “Publication Society of Shin Ukiyo-e Bijin Awase” 
Literature: “The Female Image”, number 127, page 99.
Signature: Shuko