Ito Shinsui (1898 - 1972)
Japanese colour woodblock print.
Itō Shinsui (1898–1972)
Nails (Tsume), from the series Second series of Modern beauties (Gendai bijin shū dai nishū).
Published by Watanabe Shōzaburō in 1936.
Signed Shinsui ga with Shinsui seal.
With limited edition seal on verso, Nihyakugoju mai zeppan (limited edition of 250).
On this large format woodcut from 1936, a beauty is concentrating on cutting her nails. Even though Itō Shinsui designed both landscapes and prints of beautiful women (bijinga), he is especially renowned for his beauties which form the majority of his oeuvre from 1922 onwards.
Here a squatting woman is cutting her nails with a serene look. Having just returned from the bath her cheeks are flushed and her torso is still partly lbare: an elegant kimono is loosely draped around her shoulders. The blue and white pattern of maple leaves contrasts nicely with the deep red of her underskirt. The background is formed by a beautifully preserved slightly shimmering mica layer.
This print is part of a new movement in twentieth century printmaking, the Shin hanga ('new prints'). Prints were elevated from product to luxury works of art: publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō released designs in limited numbered editions. This print was issued in an edition of 250, numbered on the back and is in stunning condition.