Beautiful shin-hanga portrait of a beauty (bijin-ga) making her way through a spring snow, using a large umbrella to keep the snow off of her. The beauty is wearing a deep red kimono with a pattern of fans delicately outlined in gold mica, tied with an intricately navy and rust colored obi. The green trim of the robe features gold mica cherry blossoms, with a pale gray color detailed with an incredibly intricate white pattern. Her hair is pulled back into a large bun adorned with hairpins, a comb, and several ribbons. The hairpins and edge of the comb are also treated with gold mica. Published by The Momose Print Company of Tokyo in the 1960s as part of a small group of woodblock designs based on Shinsui’s paintings, this is an exquisitely printed design with all of the “extras” applied.
The prints were originally offered in a shin-hanga limited edition promotion from Momose; beauties were sold for 280,000 yen each. From a limited numbered edition of 250, this one is marked EA (short for Artist Proof) on the print itself as well as on the accompanying proof of authenticity which was on the original frame back. You can see the numbering stamp in the lower margin of the print.
This limited edition was done in the 1960s, not to be confused with a later non-numbered edition put out later.
The Woodblock Print
We’ve listed this print as a dai-oban, but the image measures 15.25″x16.25″, paper measures 16.5″x19.5″. This print is in excellent condition with no flaws to be seen. Crisp and vibrant color, metallic inks still bright, full and intact margins without discolorations, clean verso without discolorations.
Please note: due to the size this print will be shipped carefully in a tube as opposed to flat.
About the Artist
Itō Shinsui (伊東 深水, February 1898 – 8 May 1972) was the pseudonym of Nihonga painter and ukiyo-e woodblock print artist, and one of the great names of the shin-hanga art movement.
Itō was born in the Fukagawa district of Tokyo. After unwise investments bankrupted his father’s business, he was forced to drop out of elementary school in the third grade and became a live-in apprentice at a printing shop. It was in this manner that he became interested in printing techniques and also in the arts, later becoming a student of Kiyokata Kaburagi. When he was 17 years old he was admitted to exhibit at the Bunten exhibition. Ito was approached by the publisher Watanabe to design prints for him (like fellow artists Kawase Hasui and Shiro Kasamatsu). The collaboration between the two men lasted for several decades until 1960. In 1952 his art was declared an “Intangible Living Treasure”, one of the highest official awards an artist could receive, and in 1970 the artist was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun.