Ichirakutei Eisui, fl. ca. 1795-1803
The Courtesan Tsukioka of the Hyogoya
(Hyogoya uchi Tsukioka)
signed Ichirakutei Eisui ga with publisher's seal Bun (Maruya Bun'emon of Bunjudo), ca. 1796-98
oban tate-e 15 1/8 by 10 in., 38.5 by 25.4 cm
A pupil of Hosoda Eishi (1756-1829), Eisui used the art names Ichirakutei and Ichirakusai. He was active during a relatively short window of just eight years and specialized in okubi-e ('big head') bust portraits. There are approximately fifty known print designs by Eisui, nearly all published by Maruya Bun'emon. From 1801 to 1803 he also produced a few illustrated books. Brandt groups this print with several okubi-e from an untitled series of portraits of high-ranking courtesans identified with their respective houses.
According to Hillier, Henri Vever acquired this print at the second auction of the painter Michel Manzi's collection of Japanese art which took place in November 1920 in Paris (lot no. 314). Manzi was one of the many artists who assembled a collection of ukiyo-e prints with the help of Paris-based print dealer Tadashi Hayashi (1853-1906). During Hayashi's time in Paris he assembled a personal collection of Western prints and paintings, some of which he acquired in trade for Japanese prints, including works by Impressionist luminaries such as Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Édouard Manet (1832-1883), Claude Monet (1840-1926), Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), and his own fellow-countryman who had studied in Paris, Kuroda Seki (1866-1924). It had been Hayashi's intention to arrange the donation of the collection to the Tokyo National Museum in his will, but he had not managed to put his affairs into order before he fell ill and died in 1906 shortly after having returned to Tokyo for his retirement. The entire collection of what was then contemporary prints and paintings was eventually returned to the West by way of the American Art Association in New York, where it was auctioned off in 1913. In a foreword by the artist Raphaël Collin, Manzi was among the collectors listed as a regular attendee of the famous monthly 'Diner Japonais,' along with Edmond de Goncourt (1822-1896), Paul Blondeau (ca. 1860-1920, see cat. no. 18) and James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). The second lot in the 1913 auction is a print by Manzi depicting the portrait of an unidentified man in profile dated 1881.
Michel Manzi (1849-1915)
Henri Vever (1854-1942)
Ukiyo-e Meisaku 300 Senten ('Three Hundred Selected Masterpieces' [from the Vever Collection, Paris]), Tokyo, Japan, 1975 (Special Loan), no. 21
Jack Hillier, Japanese Colour Prints, 1966, p. 102, fig. 31
Jack Hillier, Japanese Prints and Drawings from the Vever Collection, Volume Two, 1976, p. 555, no. 573
Klaus J. Brandt, Hosoda Eishi 1756-1829, 1977, list C, pl. 72, no. C11
Andreas Marks, Japanese Woodblock Prints, 2019, p. 246 (on Eisui)
Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, ex John Van Vleck Collection, accession no. 1980-666
Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, ex Henry Osborn Taylor Collection, accession no. 1928-14.121
Tokyo National Museum, accession no. A10569-2701
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