This is a 19th century print by one of the masters of the ukiyo-e style, Keisai Eisen. It portrays a courtesan or geisha about to go out for her evening engagement. She is dressed in her finest kimono and the related associated accessories. On the wall behind her is another print of a village by an artist whose signature we do not recognize.
The colors are still very good and the registration is excellent. There is some toning and a couple of small stains. The print is laid down – but is still perfect for framing. The print measures 15” by 10 ¼” – oban size. We date the print go the early 1800s, circa 1825 – 1840.
Keisai Eisen (1790 – 1848) was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist who specialised in pictures of beautiful women. His best works, including his ōkubi-e ("large head pictures"), are considered to be masterpieces of the "decadent" Bunsei Era (1818–1830). He was also known as Ikeda Eisen, and wrote under the name of Ippitsuan. Eisen was born in Edo into the Ikeda family, the son of a noted calligrapher. He was apprenticed to Kanō Hakkeisai, from whom he took the name Keisai, and after the death of his father he studied under Kikugawa Eizan. His initial works reflected the influence of his mentor, but he soon developed his own style.
His most famous works are the bijin-e (pictures of beautiful women) which portrayed the subjects as more worldly than those depicted by earlier artists, replacing their grace and elegance with a less studied sensuality. He produced many portraits and full-length studies depicting the fashions of the time.