Hirosada, The Actor Onoe Tamizo II

Konishi Hirosada (ca 1810 - 1864) The Actor Onoe Tamizo II, 1851. Deluxe Chuban.

This death portrayed is as moving a image of stage tragedy as you will find anywhere. I cannot identify the role here, nor can I find any record of this very rare print, although that is not to say none exists. Certainly the print does not appear in the standard literature or in any of the major collections.

It is undoubtedly a portrayal of the popular kabuki actor, Onoe Tamizo II. Tamizo was a popular actor who is portrayed later in life with the accurate features of a plump, middle aged man, smooth skinned and balding. His image in the kabuki world is not that of the dashing Aragoto, and his worldliness plays well with this moving image of a middle aged man shot down. Hirosada shows the weight and girth of the man, the unusual balletic stance, balanced on one toe and that expressive hand, clenched and thrown back… a last, desperate gesture, clinging futilely to life. Tamizo’s face is drawn, contorted, looking up, the red of the lips… is that blood? and the eyes regretful. The figure stands, ungainly, at the point of death. Really, a masterpiece.

The landscape is mainly borrowed from Hiroshige… the road from Edo to Osaka again! and the picture plane is flattened by the wisps of smoke drifting in from the right of the page.

It’s a terrific print, unusually successful for Hirosada’s full length figures which can lack movement. Colour, condition and impression are all fine, full size.

25 x 18 cm.