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Review ‘Sex and Laughter with Kyosai: Shunga From the Israel Goldman Collection’

Review ‘Sex and Laughter with Kyosai: Shunga From the Israel Goldman Collection’

As I am a big fan of the work by Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889) myself I was looking forward to check out this comprehensive treatment on the artist’s erotic work. And I have to say that it is far from disappointing. This richly illustrated 225-page booklet (nice small size) represents the shunga work (both prints and paintings) by Kyosai from the collection of Israel Goldman.

Israel Goldman

Sex and Laughter with Kyosai: Shunga From the Israel Goldman Collection‘ (2017) by Sadamura Koto

Great Impression

His Kyosai collection is unmatched and includes the largest extant group of his erotica, and these are all included in the book. The twenty-nine works (complete series and scroll paintings) give a great impression of Kyosai’s comic genius. In the introduction: ‘The Wonder of Kyosai’s Art‘ Sadamura Koto remarks: ‘One of the enjoyable aspects of Kyosai’s shunga is the way it seems instantaneously to contract both time and distance.’

Highest Order

At parties Kyosai would pick up the brush, often under the influence of sake, and paint picture after picture. His shunga seems to have taken place in a more open, noisy, and rollicking arena. Goldman remarks in the foreword: ‘Kyosai, a child prodigy and a draughtsman of the highest order, is certainly one of the finest painters of the second half of the nineteenth century. With this book, we now realise that he also ranks as the most important and prolific shunga artist of his day.

Israel Goldman

Ingenious Trick Pictures

The included text (both English and Japanese) discusses Kyosai’s series, prints, scrolls, and paintings in great detail and includes some extra articles on Kyosai’s mindset, warai-e (laughing pictures) and Was Kyosai the Last Shunga Artist? A real treat are the images of his ingenious trick pictures (aka. shikake-e, toy prints/pop up porn).

For fans of shunga and Kyosai this is finger-licking material that can not be missed.

Rating: *****/*****

Click HERE for some insightful articles on the great shunga art by Kyosai…!!!

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