Natori Shunsen, 1886-1960

Three Beauties by Shunsen: Combing her Hair
(Shunsen bijin sanshi: Kamisuki)

dated Showa sannen saku (made in Showa 3 [1928]), Shunsen ga, with artist's seal Shunsen, with publishers seal at lower right, Hanken shoyu Watanabe Shozaburo (Copyright ownership Watanabe Shozaburo), collector's seal Mune (or 'So') on lower left corner, and publisher's shintei (gift) seal on verso

dai oban tate-e 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 in., 39.4 by 26.8 cm

In 1916, the same year he released his first full-sized bijin print designed by Hashiguchi Goyo (1880-1921), Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962) saw Shunsen Natori's paintings of actors in an exhibition and recruited the artist to design actor prints. He published two prints for Shunsen in 1916 and 1917, and then in 1925 they began a large series, Collection of Shunsen Portraits, which was offered by subscription in numbered limited editions of 150 impressions. Like many of the artists that worked for Watanabe, the subject of Shunsen's designs were primarily limited to his forté, actor portraits. And indeed, Shunsen became one of the leading, and most prolific, artists depicting kabuki subjects. He did, however, create a few works outside of his designated genre, including this bijin-ga, one of a set of three published by Watanabe.

Yamaguchi, Keizaburo, Natori Shunsen ten (Natori Shunsen Exhibition Catalogue), 1992, p. 74, no. 88
Reigle Newland, Amy, and Hamanaka Shinji, The Female Image: 20th century prints of Japanese beauties, 2000, no. 160


shintei seal


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site last updated
January 21, 2022

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475