Toshusai Sharaku
Japanese , active 1794 - 1795
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Selected exhibitions
2016
DEMIMONDE: The Floating World & Toulouse-Lautrec,
Ronin Gallery
2015
From No to Mata Hari, 2,000 Years of Asian Theater,
Musée national des arts asiatiques - Guimet
Japan, Images of Actors: 18th-Century Kabuki Prints,
Musée national des arts asiatiques - Guimet

Very little is known about Toshusai Sharaku, save that he lived in Edo during the “Golden Age” of Ukiyo-e—it was not until the beginning of the 20th century that his prints were rediscovered and his reputation as a printmaking master established. During his only ten-month-long career, he produced around 100 known designs, mostly portraits of kabuki actors marked by an air of satire and wit. Sharaku’s work was radical for its time—his actor portraits allow the viewer an intimate understanding of the subject’s character. His work marks the beginning of a greater emphasis on realism and the inner life of the subject in print portraiture.

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