Biography Natori, Shunsen (1886 - 1960)
Natori Shunsen was born in Ogasawara, west of Tokyo, the son of a silk merchant. Already at the age of eleven he started studying Japanese-style painting with Kubota Beisen, and in 1906, when he was 20 years old he exhibited at the Inten for the first time. He continued studying at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, and from 1909 he worked as an illustrator for the Tokyo Asahi Shinbun.
From 1919 he became interested in theatrical subjects and he abandoned Japanese-style painting. Already a few years previously he had designed a few actor prints for Watanabe Sh˘zabur˘, who later also published his best-known series of 36 actor prints, Portraits of Actors in various roles. These were published between 1925-29, one print a month. Later he made more series of actor prints, also after WWII. Late in life Shunsen and his second wife Shigeko committed suicide. Two years previously, in 1958, his 22-year-old daughter Yoshiko had suddenly died of pneumonia, and Shunsen never recovered from this emotional blow.
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