Utagawa School, , 19th century
Preparatory Drawing of a Beauty Leaning Over a Staircase Railing Next to a Window
sumi ink drawing on paper, unsigned, with notations regarding colors, ca. 1830s
conserved on achival paper 15 3/4 by 11 in., 40.1 by 27.8 cm
Although the artist for this preparatory drawing has not yet been identified, it seems to have been inspired in part by a similar print by Keisai Eisen (1790-1848) depicting a woman leaning over a railing and waving from his series Modern Specialites and Dyed Fabrics (Tosei meibutsu kanoko) published by Omiya Heihachi in circa 1830. If the drawing follows after the print, the artist simplified the composition, keeping the railing and adding a glimpse of a descending staircase and a window in the background showing a distant view of the Kinryuzan temple rising above the trees. The position of the figure is nearly the same, with the exception of the fact that she is not waving. The pattern on her kimono and the back of the obi are more elaborate, but the artist chose to keep the underside of the obi tie that juts forward without pattern (only the square archaic seal often found on Eisen's obi) and noted that it should be black, as it is on the print. While the hairstyle is similar the face is slightly fuller and sweeter than the Eisen print.
(inv. no. 10-2692)
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October 28, 2021
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