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Lot 25: 19th C. Toshikata Woodcut - An Elegant Court Lady
07 November 2016
Louisville, CO, USA
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Mizuno Toshikata (Japanese, 1866-1908), "An Elegant Court Lady" woodcut in two colors, stamped in red and black, Meiji period, ca. late 19th century CE. A beautiful ukiyo-e woodcut in two colors (black and red) created by Mizuno Toshikata featuring the impression of the artist's signature and seal to the left of the finely dressed female beauty, a courtesan or geisha of the pleasure districts. The term ukiyo ("floating world") was used to describe the hedonistic lifestyle of the merchant class who had grown wealthy enough to furnish their domiciles with printed or painted imagery of their indulgences. An exemplary woodblock by Toshikata mounted under glass in a blonde wood frame. Size: woodblock print measures 9.5" L x 6" W (24.1 cm x 15.2 cm); sheet measures 11" L x 7.5" W (27.9 cm x 19 cm); with frame 13.75" L x 11" W (34.9 cm x 27.9 cm)
A brief biography printed on the verso by Denenberg Fine Arts reads as follows: "Toshikata was born as Mizuno Kumejiro in 1866 in Tokyo to a plasterer's family. When he was thirteen years old his father, Nonaka Kichigaro, sent him to study with Yoshitoshi. Yoshitoshi gave him the character toshi (?) from his own name as the first character of his art name Toshikata. In 1887, on Yoshitoshi's recommendation, he succeeded Yoshitoshi as the illustrator at the newspaper Yamato shimbun, where he worked until 1894. During the Sino-Japanese War (1895-1895), which brought about a brief resurgence of woodblock printmaking, he created a large body of work depicting battle scenes. As times became difficult for Japanese printmakers, with ukiyo-e printmaking falling out of style due to the introduction of photography and lithography, Toshikata turned toward the design of illustrations for novels (kuchi-e), literary journals, and the design of fashion plates for department stores. He died in April 1908 at forty-two, reportedly from overwork."
Provenance: Ex-Denenberg Fine Arts, Los Angeles, CA.
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Condition Report: Woodcut in overall excellent condition save bit of foxing on upper left. Minor bend to top left corner of sheet that woodcut is mounted upon. A few scratches to wooden frame as shown. Overall excellent.