Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865) and Hiroshige II (1842-1894) Scenes of Famous Places Along the Tokaido Road Station 28: Enoshima, 1863. Oban.
One of the best prints from this fine and fascinating collaborative series, this print is signed by both Hiroshige II and by Kunisada (in his 78th year). Kunisada revives a favourite motif in the figures of the diver women in the foreground - here seen through the waves as if from the boat. This print is highly unusual in the series - nearly all of the other prints show the Shogun in lengthy procession. In this piece there is the unlikely image of the dignitaries sitting at the shoreline - strangely exposed - watching the work of the abalone divers below them. Kunisada made a number of triptych prints of the same figures, and used the awkward figure of the diving girl in countless other prints throughout his career (there is a strange echo in this curiously drawn motif that crops up in the early modernist paintings of Cezanne and Matisse). The same motif is used by Kunichika and by Kunisada II. All three of the prints on this page show the inventive way that ukiyo-e artists pictured the fluidity of water in the inflexible medium of wood. Kunisada and Hiroshige II were frequent collaborators and it is likely that in this instance, Kunisada would have been responsible for the overall layout and the figures and Hiroshige II for the landscape elements.
This is a fine print (one of the best of the set), like most prints that survive of this series it is trimmed on three sides, otherwise, colour, impression and condition are all fine.
Signed Kunisada ga and Hiroshige ga, published by Isaya Kanekichi.
35cm x 22cm.