Taiso Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) Personalities of recent Times #12: The Actor Bando Hikosaburo V, 1887. Oban.
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This is a very mature and very powerful portrait of the superstar actor Bando Hikosaburo V who died in 1873 at the age of forty-five. Hikosaburo was hugely popular and his early death was greatly mourned by the public. This series is of a notably high quality in the drawing but especially in the quality of the printing. Yoshitoshi was at the height of his career and was working on his last great series, the 100 Aspects of the Moon. This series was commissioned by the Yamato newspaper and these prints were distributed to subscribers. The series depicts well known people from the the contemporary scene and from history.
In this print, the actor sits in a conventional western pose, Yoshitoshi here eschewing some of the traditional Japanese conventions of portraiture, and the beautifully rendered ocean in the background also borrowing heavily from the western tradition. The drawing, as usual with Yoshitoshi of this period, is skillful and assured; the detail of the robes and the waves but especially of the hair and beard are exceptional. There are signs of the care and quality that went into the piece in the delicate, misty bokashi shading of the horizon, the motifs of the kimono and the embossed and incidental details of the cartouche and the embossed under garments.
Full size, fine early printing with very sharp lines, burnishing to the rich mane of hair and fine colour and impression. In very good condition overall, untrimmed. Some soiling to margins, otherwise fine.
35cm x 22cm.