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  • Kabuki Actor Sawamura Sojuro III as Hayano Kanpei


Shunei (1762 - 1819)

Kabuki Actor Sawamura Sojuro III as Hayano Kanpei

Medium: Painting
Date: c. 1783
Size (H x W): 10.5 x 7 (inches)
Signature: Unsigned
Condition: Good color, very faint centerfold, overall surface soiling and wear, adhesive residue around edges on reverse.

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A print of this same design can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The MFA suggests that it illustrates the actor in a production of the play "Kanadehon Chushingura" staged at the Nakamura Theater in the fifth month of 1783.

About the artist

A student of Shunsho, Shunei Katsukawa was a prolific and successful woodblock print artist. Most active from the mid-1780s through the 1790s, his earliest known work is an illustrated book published in 1782. He is credited as one of the first artists to popularize the emerging okubi-e, or “big head,” style portraits. In addition to actor prints, Shunei designed studies of sumo wrestlers. A contemporary of Toyokuni I and Sharaku, Shunei’s prints are distinctive in their active, yet balanced compositions and dramatic flair.