Katsukawa Shunchō
The Sumō Wrestler Onogawa Kisaburō and the Girl Takashima Ohisa

Signed: Utamaro ga (on the girl’s fan, after the fact as a forgery?); ōkubi-e, ōban, trimmed to 32.2 x 22.3 cm; nishiki-e with karazuri and white mica ground (shirokira)

Shunchō designed two remarkable portrait prints on the topic of “The Beauty and the Beast” featuring Ohisa and Okita, two of the most famous beauties of their time, whom he placed side-by-side with Onogawa and Tanikaze the two most famous sumō wrestlers. The print has been cropped, Utamaro’s signature was later printed on the sheet by a counterfeiter in order to increase its market value. A light-coloured mica ground was also added for the same reason.

John Mellor (Sotheby’s, London, July)
Riese Collection #63

Shunchō designed two striking portraits on the theme of Beauty and the Beast, with Ohisa and Okita, the two most popular beauties of the day juxtaposed with Onogawa and Tanikaze, the two most famous wrestlers. This print has been trimmed approximately 2,5 cm on the left, removing Shunchō’s signature and the mark of the publisher Tsuruya, and about 6,5 cm on the bottom, removing Ohisa’s hand and most of her fan. An Utamaru signature has been engraved and printed onto the upper edge of the fan in an attempt to enhance its desirability. A mica ground of an uncharacteristic light grey colour has also been added for the same reason. Despite these additions, however, the print is still curious and impressive. Untrimmed impressions are reproduced in Tōkyō National Museum catalogue, no. 1722; and the Vever sale catalogue (Sotheby’s, London, 26 March, 1974, no. 224).

Reproduced in: Ingelheim catalogue, no. 55.