Utagawa School

Utagawa School

19th century

Preparatory Drawing of a Beauty Leaning Over a Staircase Railing Next to a Window

sumi ink drawing on paper, unsigned, with notations regarding colors, ca. 1830s

conserved on achival paper 15 3/4 by 11 in., 40.1 by 27.8 cm

Although the artist for this preparatory drawing has not yet been identified, the designer may have found inspiration in related circa 1830s compositions by Keisai Eisen (1790-1848) from the series Modern Specialites and Dyed Fabrics (Tosei meibutsu kanoko) published by Omiya Heihachi, and another from a series titled Appearance of Modern Beauties (Tosei bijin sugata). Both Eisen prints illustrate a woman leaning over a nearly identical railing, in the first she is waving, in the second, she is not.

If the drawing follows after these prints, the artist simplified the composition, altering the railing and adding a glimpse of a descending staircase and a window in the background showing a distant view of the Kinryuzan temple rising above the trees. The position of the figure is nearly the same as the second print. The pattern on her kimono and the back of the obi are more elaborate than both designs, but the artist chose to keep the underside of the obi tie that juts forward without pattern (only the square archaic seal often found on Eisen's obi) and noted that it should be black, as it is on the first print print. While the hairstyle is similar to the that of the first print, the face is slightly fuller and sweeter than both of the Eisen prints.

(inv. no. 10-2692)

price: $1,200

 Utagawa School

Eisen, Modern Specialites and Dyed Fabrics, ca. 1830

 Utagawa School

Eisen, Appearance of Modern Beauties (Handrail), ca. 1830 (Davison Center, Wesleyan University, #1948.D2.377)


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site last updated
March 21, 2023

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475