(1797 - 1861)
Views of the sixty-odd provinces of Greater Japan
('Dai Nippon rokuju yoshu no uchi')
- The province of Shima -
Preparatory brush drawing; sumi (black ink) on thin paper.
Date: c. 1845
Size of sheet: 33. 5 x 26. 5 cms / c. 13 1/8" x 10 3/8"
Condition: Part of paper is missing.
Provenance: Kuniyoshi's studio (pls. read below)
ref. no.: # S-0409
Price: € 790.00
An almost finished preparatory drawing for Kuniyoshi's series of sixty-seven historical and legendary figures, set against inset pictures of
the province relevant to the main subject of the print. Our drawing already shows the series title (Dai Nippon rokuju yoshu no uchi)
next to the inset picture which shows a view of Shima province. In the center of the design a warrior, Tsumashiro (?), is sitting holding an
open fan, behind him the head of a daimyo or shogun (?) can be seen. - In the end, this particular design was not chosen to be included in
the series, - the published print representing Shima province shows a different design, - see Robinson (1982) below.
By far the largest body of surviving preparatory drawings for Japanese prints is formed by the brush work of Kuniyoshi. It seems that his studio preserved and systematically collected the master’s drawings to an extent unparalleled by other schools, to serve as teaching material for his many students. The drawings were initially bound in numerous albums inscribed Kuniyoshi sô ('Kuniyoshi’s drafts') which then may have been bought by the French dealer, BING, in the early 1880s.
Two of the albums were directly bought by the V&A MUSEUM in London in 1889, many others by the Parisian collector EMILE JAVAL. From there, many were acquired by the Dutch collector F. LIEFTINCK from the dealer FELIX TIKOTIN. These were finally acquired by the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, in 1958. Eight other albums were reportedly in the collection of Mr. THOMAS STAUFFER of Chicago as late as in the 1960s (information taken from the sources listed below).
Detailed information on Kuniyoshi’s shita-e, his style and artistic approach, as well as on the origins of the drawings, is given by Matthi Forrer in his study of the holdings in the Museum of Ethnology at Leiden, NL. We highly recommend the following books:
- M. Forrer, Drawings by Utagawa Kuniyoshi - from the collection of the National Museum of Ethnology Leiden; The Hague, 1988.
- B.W. Robinson, Kuniyoshi - The Warrior Prints; Oxford, 1982; series: S36, no. 8.
- B.W. Robinson, Drawings by Utagawa Kuniyoshi - in the collection of Ferd. Lieftinck of Haren, Holland; Groningen, 1953.
- Fagioli, Utagawa Kuniyoshi: 90 disegni; Firenze, 1985.
- Fagioli, Kuniyoshi - an appreciation of his drawings; in: ANDON no. 21; 1986.