Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967
Kabuki Actor Cartoon
(Narikomaya no mudagaki)
title in right margin, signed in sumi kanji, Bin-ni, with red artist's seal Binnie, pencil-numbered and -signed in the lower right, 18/35, Paul Binnie, ca. 2008
chuban 10 7/8 by 9 3/8 in., 27.7 by 23.9 cm
The title and style of the composition is based on the 1847 series of kabuki actor cartoons by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) Nitakaragurakabe no mudagaki (Scribblings on a storehouse wall). The Kuniyoshi series presented similarly stylized portraits, often with elongated chins and noses, swollen cheeks, and oddly shaped heads. Binnie captures the playfulness of the preceding series, but with elements of his own invention. The colors of this composition are bold and definitive. Similarly, by presenting the actor in profile Binnie provides her with a kind of gravitas, creatively contrasting with the print's comic style.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.27004
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