Torii Kotondo, 1900-1976
a profile bust portrait of a beauty applying rouge to her lips against a background of grey swirling baren marks with bokashi darkening towards the upper edge; signed Kotondo ga with artist's green circular seal Torii Kotondo; published by Ikeda, undated, ca. 1930
dai oban tate-e 18 7/8 by 11 5/8 in., 48 by 29.5 cm
Torii Kotondo was born in Nihonbashi district of Tokyo. In his early teens he studied yamato-e painting (the traditional style favored by the Imperial courts) before he was adopted at the age of fifteen by Torii Kiyotada IV (1864-1931), the seventh generation head of the Torii School (the traditional artists of the kabuki theater). Under the name of Kotondo he illustrated magazines, kabuki billboards, and theater programs. In 1917 he began studying bijin-ga with Kaburaki Kiyokata (1878-1972), at which point he would have come into contact with Ito Shinsui (1898-19720) who became a leading bijin-ga artist. In 1929 Kotondo succeeded his adoptive father and became the head of the Torii School (initially taking the name Kiyonobu, before taking the name Kiyotada V in 1941). In that same year he began producing prints with the publishers Sakai and Kawaguchi, and then the following year with Ikeda. Within five years he produced twenty-two bijin-ga prints, the majority of which remain among the finest of the shin-hanga genre.
Published (this impression):
Reigle Neland, Amy, and Hamanaka Shinji, The Female Image: 20th century prints of Japanese beauties, 2000, no. 179
Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Exhibition of Torii Kotondo, the 100th anniversary of his birth, The Works of Torii Kiyotada VIII, 2000, p. 45, pl. 89
Reigle Neland, Amy, gen. ed., Printed to Perfection: Twentieth-century Japanese Prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection, 2004, p. 115, no. 107
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site last updated
January 21, 2022
Scholten Japanese Art
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New York, New York 10019
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