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Shinsui (1898 - 1972)

A Woman at Her Makeup

Series: Twelve Figures of Modern Beauties
Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: Spring 1922
Size (H x W): 17 x 10.5 (inches)
Publisher: Watanabe Shozaburo
Seals: 6mm Watanabe circular seal, edition seal on reverse
Edition: 79/200
Provenance: Garib Collection
Signature: Shinsui saku with rectangular Ito seal
Condition: Very good color and impression, light toning on margins, faint stain on upper left margin corner, small adhesive residue on reverse top edge.

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Shinsui's A Woman at Her Makeup is a rare pre-earthquake design. Watanabe distributed prints from the series Twelve Figures of Modern Beauties to the 200 limited members of the Ukiyo-e Study Group. Another impression of this print can be found in Toledo Museum of Art.

About the artist

Truly elegant in appearance and graceful in pose, Shinsui Ito’s bijin-ga have earned him a reputation as an unrivaled painter of women and a master of design. Shinsui was born in Tokyo as Hajime Ito. He began his artistic training at age 12 in the drawing department of the Tokyo Printing Company before joining the workshop of the painter Kiyokata Kaburagi. By 1916, Shinsui completed his first woodblock print, followed a year later by the series Eight Views of Lake Biwa. Between 1922 and 1923, Shinsui designed his first set of the beauties (Twelve Figures of New Beauties), followed by two installments of Series of Modern Beauties (1929-1931 and 1931-1936). While most recognized for his bijin-ga, Shinsui continued to work as a painter. In 1952, his mastery of woodblock design was designated as Intangible Cultural Property, an event commemorated with the print Tresses (1952). Appointed to the Japan Art Academy in 1958, Shinsui received the Order of the Rising Sun in 1970 before his death in 1972.