Utagawa School, 19th century
Studies of Women in Various Poses
sumi ink on paper, unsigned, with notations regarding colors, ca. 1830
conserved on archival paper 11 by 15 3/4 in., 27.94 by 40.01 cm
These sketches were included in a well-worn album of preparatory bijinga (pictures of beautiful women) drawings that date to circa 1825-30s either stylistically or by matching designs with published woodblock prints. Among the identified works there were examples by Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865), Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), Keisai Eisen (1790-1848), and his student Teisai Sencho (active ca. 1830-50). All of the other drawings had extensive notations regarding the color seperation for the prints, indicating that they were near-final versions of the compositions. The notated drawings were labor-intensive guides that must have been prepared by a steady hand, possibly the same professional who produced the final hanshita that would have been destroyed in carving the keyblock. This sheet, with charming studies of women going about their daily lives, was the only drawing in the album that was not prepared in any way for print production. It seems plausible that these studies represents the hand of the individual who actually assembled (or inherited) the collection--perhaps a junior artist working in an atelier, or a specialist working with the carvers or printers.
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site last updated
October 28, 2021
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