Ito Shinsui, Backstage

Ito Shinsui, 1898-1972

Backstage
(Gakuya)

an actress wearing a yellow and black robe with a dramatic geometric pattern applying make-up while looking in the mirror; signed in sumi ink Shinsui with artist's seal Ito, publisher's seal Watanabe, dated on the margin, Showa sanjunen gogatsu (Showa 30 [1955], fifth month)

obaiban tate-e 20 by 14 1/8 in., 50.7 by 36 cm

The composition of this print (based on a painting dated to 1955) seems to be inspired by a photograph of the actress Shizue Natsukawa (1909-1999) which accompanied an article, On the Front of Life: Women's Movements in Japan, by the writer and critic Heisuke Sugiyama (1895-1946) published in the March 1937 issue of Nippon magazine. Shizue Natsukawa appeared in over 65 silent films, feature films, shorts and television series in a career that spanned 60 years, from 1924 until 1984.

References:
Heisuke Sugiyama, On the Front of Life: Women's Movements in Japan, in Nippon, March, 1937, p. 40
Hamada Taiji and Hosono Masanobu, Ito Shinsui zenshu, 1981-1982, volume 3, pl. 117 (painting)
Tadasu Watanabe, Ito Shinsui: All The Woodblock Prints, 1992, p. 193, no. 131
Amy Reigle Newland, and Hamanaka Shinji, The Female Image: 20th Century Prints of Japanese Beauties, 2000, no 93, p. 81
Koyama Shuko, Beautiful Shin Hanga- Revitalization of Ukiyo-e, Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum, 2009, p. 221, no. 5-29

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