"B. Tokyo. Given name Yoshinsuke. As a young man looked up to Hirafuku Hyakusai, 11 years his senior. Studies Japanese-style painting with Kubota Beisen and in 1906 exhibited at Inten. Studied at Tokyo School of Fine Arts. Beginning 1908 worked for some time as illustrator for Asahi shinbun. Became associate member of Saiko Nihon Bijitsuin in 1918. Withdrew from Japanese style painting in 1919 and turned his attention to theatrical subjects; became secretary of the Theatrical painters Association of Japan.....A few actor prints were published by Watanabe Shozaburo in 1916....After a lapse of several years Watanabe published a series of 36 actor prints, Portraits of Actors in Various Roles, 1925-1929, one print designed for each month. This series was shown at the first Toledo Musem exhibition in 1936." --'Guide to Modern Japanese Prints: 1900-1975' by H. Merritt and N. Yamada
Shunsens's Kabuki actor portaits from the 1920s were mainly in the okubi-e (large head) format, which allowed him to focus on the expression and emotions of the character's face; today they are generally considered the finest actor portraits of the 20th century. This portrait is from the scene of Genjidana in "Yo wa Nasake Ukina no Yokogushi." Otomi's figure with the rice bag as soap at her mouth after taking a bath expresses her style and charm - with her white skin, indigo-dyed towel, and red rice bran bag.
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