A beautiful bijin-ga beauty by Shimura Tatsumi, prints by this artist are rarely found for sale in either the limited edition or the “open” edition like this one. The artist and publisher take a beautiful design and use embossing and delicate treatments to elevate the final print.
The Woodblock Print
This large oban-sized woodblock is in very fine condition. The print has toning, but it is even throughout the image and slight variation in the front margins. Some tape residue on the upper verso.
About the Artist
Tatsumi Shimura (1907-1980) was born in Takasaki in Gunma prefecture under the given name of Sentaro. He studied with Yamakawa Saiho and his son, Yamakawa Shuho, in the 1920s focusing on painting. Making a living as an illustrator for newspapers and magazines, the one that had the most impact on his future artistic direction was the magazine Fujokai, “Women’s World”.
Parallel to his job as an illustrator he continued to work as a painter – specializing in bijin-ga, a genre centered on the depiction of beautiful women, with an occasional foray into printmaking before the war. In 1932 he contributed a print to the series Dai Tokyo hyakkei – “One Hundred Views of Great Tokyo”.
After World War II, Shimura began designing bijin-ga prints that were published by Kato Junzo. His best known works are a series of five prints published in 1953 titled Gendai bijin fuzoku gotai – “Five Figures of Modern Beauties”, which was published as a limited edition in copies of 200.
Shimura Tatsumi was mainly a traditional Japanese painter, he only created a small number of woodblock prints and those prints were in limited editions/quantities… and not too often to be found.