Yoshitoshi: Flute Player Triptych (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Title: Flute Player Triptych  明治十五壬午季秋絵画共進会出品画藤原保昌月下弄笛図応需
Date: 1883
Size: ôban triptych each sheet approx 37.5 x 25.5 cm (76.5 cm)

Yoshitoshi’s masterpiece, “The painting ‘Fujiwara Yasumasa Plays the Flute by Moonlight’, Exhibited at the National Painting Exhibition in the Autumn of 1882”. We see the poet Fujiwara no Yasumasa (958-1036) playing his flute beneath a full moon on Ichihara Moor. The bandit Hakamadare Yasusuke creeps up on him, intending to rob him of his opulent robes–however, Yasusuke is so arrested by the sound of the playing that he cannot draw his sword. The bandit is so entranced by the music and by Yasumasa’s poise that he follows Yasumasa home. Yasumasa then gifts him a robe of his own, giving the tale a surprisingly happy ending. This triptych was commissioned by the publisher Akiyama Buemon after Yoshitoshi submitted a painting of this scene to the Exhibition for the Advancement of National Painting in 1882. That painting is now in the collection of the Worcester Art Museum. Yoshitoshi’s teacher Kuniyoshi also created works with this famous subject, and Yoshitoshi designed a triptych in 1868 in his early style that looks completely different. Egenolf Gallery also has for sale the print with this subject that Yoshitoshi designed for 100 Aspects of the Moon. This triptych is widely considered Yoshitoshi’s greatest woodblock print design.

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Completely untrimmed and unbacked. Some stains on margin of left sheet and some creasing. quite early state, before the separate seal with the name of the printer “Suri Tsune” was added to the left sheet. A fine layer of mica covers the entire work.
Dimensions: ôban triptych each sheet approx 37 x 25 cm
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Literature: See “Beauty & Violence”, color plate 43, page 63. See MFA, FAMSF, Smithsonian, AIC, LACMA, Philiadelphia Museum of Art. Newland, Yoshitoshi (2011), #81; Shioya, "Katsureki...," in Ukiyo-e geijutsu 147 (2004), p. 30, fig. 1; Shibuya Kuritsu Shôtô Bijutsukan, Musha-e (2003), #27; Ing & Schaap, Beauty & Violence (1992), #43; Ukiyo-e taikei 12 (1976), #27-29. Also shown in practically every catalog on this artist.
Seal: Taiso and Yoshitoshi
Signature: zu ôju Taiso Yoshitoshi sha