Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Onoe Matsusuke II as a Street Vendor in the play Ninin Muko Komikurai Sadame, 1814. Oban.
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This print is by Toyokuni I, probably the most influential individual in the whole of the ukiyo-e scene for an entire century. From his school flowed the style, the genres and the artists that dominated woodblock prints until they ceased to be a popular art form. He is perhaps most associated with actor prints, a genre that he helped create and develop into a massive industry in nineteenth century Japan. Toyokuni responded to the growing public obsession with kabuki actors and the bulk of his output after 1810 (often criticised these days) is of stars of the kabuki stage.
In this print he shows an early portrait of the actor Onoe Matsusuke II. Matsusuke II took the stage name, Onoe Baiko II during the performance that this print commemorates in 1814. He was acclaimed as an all-round actor, or man of a thousand faces, and his ability to make miraculously quick changes enabled him to play several parts in one performance.
A fine actor portrait, impression and colour are fine, the condition is very good with some slight scuffing to the lower left-hand corner. Album binding holes and minor wormage repaired .
25 x 37 cm