Onoe Kikugorō III and Bandō Hikosaburō IV
By Utagawa Kunisada
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Edition size: n/a, early lifetime impression
Sheet size: 36,3 x 50,0 cm
Fine impression, with mica powder, karazuri and fine bokashi; fine colour and condition, minimal traces of binding holes on both sheets.
Our diptych is the first version of this subject, which Kunisada replicated in 7/1856 with the same publisher. For this second version see, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, nos. 11.43844a-b and 11.45270a-b. Another impression of the first version is in the Lyon Collection. The two versions have great similarity but, in fact they are not the same. The left panel seems to be almost identical, but there are differences: the actor and his identifying cartouche have been recarved. The right panel is almost entirely different: there is no man holding a scroll on the shore and the actor at the tail of the fish is totally different compared with the first version. The figure on the shore in our first version depicts Iwasa Matabei (1578–1650), a painter of the popular school, somehow considered a father of the Ukiyo-e school.