Utagawa Kunisada/Toyokuni III (1786-1865) Iwai Kumesaburo, Nakamura Shikan, Mimaso Genjosuke in a Scene from a Kabuki drama, 1825/27. Oban Triptych.
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I think this is one of the outstanding kabuki triptychs of Kunisada’s career. The decorative use of the smoke, stretching as it does across the three sheets, tying the actors together under its baleful mass is inspired, as too are the characterisations of the three actors, linked together by firstly, the sash and secondly, the foot on the sword making a continuous and fluid compostion that imitates the smoke above them.
The play almost certainly is one of several related compositions regarding the revenge of a young man on the murderer of his father, and his pursuit and mistaken identity of his sister as his lover.
An early Kunisada triptych, the drawing still shows a debt to his teacher Toyokuni I. The colour is particularly delicate and the quality of the print against the soft paper is outstanding. Impression, colour and condition are all fine.
Published by Kawa-sho