Kuniyoshi, Saheiji Beneath a Tree

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) Saheiji Beneath a Tree, 1847-1852. Oban.

This is a superb character portrait of an actor in the role of the gambler Saheiji. He shelters from the rain beneath the spreading branches of a tree. We have included this print because of the similarity to the Toyokuni I portrait of Ono Sadakuro on the same page. Kuniyoshi was the pupil of Toyokuni and juxtapositions such as this show very clearly the stylistic debts owed by even the best students to their teachers. Outstanding in this print is the graphic device that Kuniyoshi uses to depict the stubble on Saheiji’s chin.

The print is a very good impression, with fine colour in good condition. There is some scuffing and soiling to the lower left of the sheet.

Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. Kiri Seal. Published by Ebiya Rinnosuke (Kaijudo).