Re: Toyokuni III - Kubuki play

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Posted by Theo de Kreijger on November 13, 1998 at 23:07:15:

In Reply to: Toyokuni III - Kubuki play posted by Louise Nolan on November 13, 1998 at 12:15:02:

Nice gift!!!

But if you want to know more about the artist or the play, then you have two problems.

1. There are a only few books about the popular Kunisada I. The man had such a enormous output as a designer that only very few art historians have tried to write something coherant about him. Some have estimated that Kunisada signed about 60.000 print-designs! And some historians are still 'fighting' about what he designed during his early period as an artist. We do not know for sure what happened after his master Toyokuni I died. Both Kunisada and Toyohiro used the studio name Toyokuni (II) and it's still rather uncertain when and why. There's also a problem with the artistic quality of his known work. Some designs have been re-printed/re-published/re-carved and some have been (partly) designed by his pupils. Alas. He had many. And some of them were minor artists.

Also getting information about specific Kabuki plays is very difficult. There is one great work which describes all known playes from that period. I thought it was called 'Kubuki Shimpo, published in Tokyo 1896. But it's in Japanese only!

I only encountered one very nice overview of Kabuki prints by Kunisada. It's called KUNISADA, The Japanese Prints in the Antell Collection, ISBN 851-9289-20-8, The Fine Arts Academi from Finland, 1985. It describes 342 prints, diptychs, triptychs and other x-tychs. And it has numerous b/w and some color prints showing prints from an exibition at the Synebrichoff Art Museum.

This book only mentions one print from 1848 and it's not from the same play ...

Yours truly, Theo de Kreijger

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