Utagawa Yoshiiku: Silhouette of the Actor Ichikawa Kuzo III 三代目市川九蔵
Artist: Ochiai (Utagawa) Yoshiiku (1833-1904)
Title: Silhouette of the Actor Ichikawa Kuzô III 三代目市川九蔵
Series: Portraits as True Likenesses in the Moonlight 真寫月花の姿絵
Silhouette of the actor Ichikawa Kuzo III. He wears his hair in the traditional Edo Period hairstyle. Inset, we see the actor in a role, holding a toothpick. Inspired by popular shadow performances, which were performed in front of a sliding door with a bright light behind them, as well as the development of photographs by camera, Yoshiiku made this series of works that portray the silhouettes of 36 famous actors, comparing them to the 36 Immortal Poets. They seem to have been done from life, with the actors actually sitting for their portraits behind a screen, as this is illustrated in the preface for the series. It is unusual in ukiyo-e to see actors portrayed in a way that may be today considered “realistic”, as features were generally stylized within certain artistic conventions. Early impression.
Condition: Excellent impression and color: very good condition. With minor wormage.
Dimensions: ôban (36.2 x 23.3 cm)
Literature: See MFA Boston, Honolulu Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum for other works from this series.
Signature: Chokaro Yoshiiku mo