Eisen, A Courtesan

Keisai Eisen (1790 - 1848) A Courtesan, c. 1830. Oban.

The term 'brocade print' could have been coined to describe the prints of the artist Keisai Eisen. These highly skilled and beautifully realised prints were very much the fashion plates of their day. Eisen produced large numbers of these portraits of women, some as allegories of the seasons, others, portraits of well known Geisha or courtesans. They are all richly decorated and finely drawn and executed. The predominence of blue in this piece reflects his near obsession with the colour in the late 1820’s, producing prints coloured almost entirely in the newly imported blue pigment, a genre known as azuri-e.

This print is typical of the mid career work of Eisen. The sheet is probably from a short series of near identical prints of courtesans in the richest fashions of the day, set against fences and punctuated, as here, by lanterns.  The incidental details are very lovely… there are illustrations of children and of foxes dressed as children in some of the fabrics and great swirling decorations of peonies and roses. The colour, condition and impression are all very good. An excellent example of the genre.

Published by Ezakiya Tatsuzo.

34 x 24 cm.