Lot 378: UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI 歌川国芳 (1798 - 1861)
19 November 2016
Vienna, Vienna, AustriaLive Auction
Asai Bizen no Kami Nakamasa. Sheet No. 7. Original color woodblock print from the series “Heroic Stories from Taiheiki“ (Taiheiki eiyu den, 太平記英勇傳), published around 1848-1849. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. Seal: Kiri. Publisher: Yamamoto-ya Heikichi. Censor seal: Nanushi seals Mera and Murata.
Seated on a tiger fur, Asai Nakamasa is shown the decapitated head of his murdered enemy. In the war against Nobunaga, the same fate overtook him.
Famous as an exceptional drawing talent, Utagawa Kuniyoshi suddenly secured his position as outstanding color woodblock print master in 1827 with the Suikoden series. In the depictions of this series, both dynamic lines and turbulent figural scenes demonstrate his unusual talent for dramatic composition.
With the series of the life of the priest Nichiren, the first landscape depictions, numerous Surimono and the series Nijushi-ko, based on European copperplate, established Kuniyoshi as a distinquished artist, who only had one more competitor, his older contemporary Kunisada.
Kuniyoshi found his themes in just about every area; whether history or heroes, literature or theater, handicraft or tradition, amusement or courtesan life, haunted spirit scenes or cat pictures – his virtuous drawing art is expressive everywhere. His sense of humor was the source of numerous caricatures - which the morbid Tokugawa system profoundly satirized, leading to displeasure among the authorities, thus causing penalties against him.
OBAN, 36,9 x 25,3 CM
From a Viennese private collection