Chokyosai Eiri, fl. ca. 1795-1800
Contest of Beauties from the Pleasure Quarters: Kashiku of the Tsuru-ya
(Kashiku of the Tsuru-ya)
dark grey mica background, signed Eiri giga (drawn for pleasure), with publisher's seal To (Yamaguchiya Chusuke), ca. 1795-96
oban tate-e 14 1/2 by 9 1/2 in., 36.8 by 24 cm
This print, along with the previous entry, are part of a collaborative series of okubi-e portraits of well-known high-ranking courtesans designed by students of Hosoda Eishi (1756-1829) and published by Yamaguchiya Chusuke in the mid-1790s. Of the twenty-four known designs from the series, only three are by Eiri. Extant prints from the series are scarce, and deluxe impressions were issued either with a patterned background or a grey background embellished with mica. This is one of less than fifty prints by the artist, about whom virtually nothing is known.
In his recent publication of ukiyo-e masterpieces, Marks concurs with Lane's theory that it is likely that there were two artists working during an overlapping time period whose names could be read Eiri, but were signing their works using different characters and who aligned themselves with different publishers. The first Eiri, who also used the art name Rekisentei, was stylistically closer to the line of Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806) and began was publishing illustrated books as early as 1781, which is before the first known print was produced by Eishi. This Eiri, who also used the art name Choyosai, produced designs which were clearly in the school of Eishi
Vignier & Inada, Estampes Japonaises: Yeishi, Choki, Hokusai, 1913, p. 32, no. 57, pl. XVIII (Mme. Chausson, now at the Ritsumeikan University)
Klaus J. Brandt, Hosoda Eishi 1756-1829, 1977, pl. 69, no. B4
Richard Lane, Images from the Floating World, 1978, p. 144, no. 148 (on Eiri)
Ukiyo-e Shuka, volume 8, 1980, Eiri list no. 9.1.2
Eiko Kondo, Masterpieces of Ukiyo-e Prints from the Schindler Collection, 1987, p. 77, no. 75 (with mica)
Andreas Marks, Japanese Woodblock Prints, 2019, p. 242 (on the series) and p. 244 (on Eiri)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, William Sturgis Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.15007 (without mica)
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