Shun'ei Biography

N.: Katsukawa 'originally Isoda)2 Family name: Kyujiro.4 Go: Kyutokusai,5 Shun'ei.6 Biog.: Ukiyo-e painter, printmaker. A man of diverse interests: amusician, a devotee of the theater, a painter of witty sketches and caricatures. Lived in Edo. Brilliant pupil of Katsukawa Shunsho, whose surname he adopted. Specialized in actor prints and scenes from plays, giving an individual and at times biting characterization to his portraits. May have started the fashion for okubi-e of actors, though many critics credit Shunko with this innovation. At his best from 1791 to 1795, influencing both Sharaku and Toyokuni. Regarded as almost the equal of his master, but his work is more versatile and has a wider range. Also illustrated books, including the seven volumes of Shibai Kimmo Zui (an encyclopedia of the theater). By 1800 one of most prominent ukiyo-e figures and leader of the Katsukawa school. His work characterized by strong macabre designs, somber color schemes. Coll.: Alien; Art (1); Atami; British; Brooklyn; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Detroit; Fine (California); Fogg; Freer; Grunwald; Honolulu; Metropolitan; Minneapolis; Musee (1), (2); Musees; Museum (1), (3); Nelson; Ostasi-atiska; Portland; Rhode Island; Riccar; Rietberg; Staat-liche; Tokyo (1); University (2); Victoria; Worcester; Yale.  
Source: Laurance P. Roberts, A Dictionary of Japanese Artists, Weatherhill Press