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YAMAMURA KOKA Japanese Woodblock Print JEAN VALJEAN 1921


Availability: 1 available

YAMAMURA KOKA Japanese Woodblock Print JEAN VALJEAN 1921


Morita Kanya XIII as Jean Valjean

Date: originally published 1921 by Watanabe, this is a later edition hand printed from the original wood blocks
Size: oban, with full margins, 11.5" X 16.75"
Condition: Fine, no flaws, uncirculated print, never framed
Impression: Fine, solid key lines, nice surface texture, tight registration
Color: Fine, deep saturated color and bleed through to verso

In the early 20th century kabuki actors occasionally assumed the guise of Westerners in a number of productions. This superb Yamamura Koka portrait commemorates the actor Morita Kanya XIII's star turn as Jean Valjean in a 1920 production of Les Misérables.  

Yamamura Koka, who also used the art name Yamamura Toyonari (Housei Yamamura), studied with Ogata Gekko (1859-1920) and graduated from the Tokyo Art School in 1907. He began designing actor prints as early as 1915, signing with both art names, by contributing to the short-lived magazine Shin Nigao ("New Portraits"). However, it was his collaboration with the publisher Shozaburo Watanabe in the following year that provided Koka with a means to establish an impressive body of work in the actor print genre. He created at least 16 designs for Watanabe, including an important series of 12 prints for the series Rien no hana kagatobi ("Flowers of the Theatrica1 World"), published between 1920 and 1922.


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