Twenty Views of Tokyo: Snow at Tsukijima (Tokyo Nijukkei: Tsukushima no yuki). Considered Hasui's finest snow scene, this print was limited to 200 impressions according to the 1936 Toledo Museum catalog. 20 woodblocks were used with 25 superimposed printings.
In 1918, the Watanabe Shōzaburō publishing house contracted Hasui to begin producing print designs, a partnership between the publishing house and Hasui that would continue through the 1950s. Hasui published works based on his hometown of Shiobara like the series Shiobara Okanemichi (The Okane Path at Shiobara), Sojoji no Yuki (Snow at Sojoji Temple), Tokyo Junikagetsu (Twelve Months of Tokyo), Azabu Ninohashi no Gogo (Afternoon at Ninohashi in Azabu), Shiba Zojoji (Shiba Zojoji Temple), Shin Tokyo Hyakkei (One Hundred Views of New Tokyo), and Shiba Daimon no Yuki (Snow at Shiba Daimon). At the time, Watanabe was the leading force and producer of shin-hanga prints. Hasui’s published work through Watanabe was immensely popular and profitable, especially prints exported to the United States. In 1930, Hasui exhibited 92 prints at the Toledo Museum Art annual exhibition in Toledo, Ohio. The American and art connoisseur Robert O. Muller also pushed for Hasui’s work to be recognized and collected in America.
The Woodblock Print
Signed Hasui with artist's seal Kawase, the publishers (Hotei 'B') seal on the right margin, Hanmoto Watanabe hangaten (Publisher Watanabe print shop), the series title cartouche at the upper left, Tokyo nijukei, followed by the print title, Tsukushima no yuki, and the date, Showa gonen saku (work of Showa 5 ).
A few creases in the paper, some more significant. One crease has initiated some separation in the top right quandrant, but unable to be seen when lying flat. Overall aged paper, but equal toning everywhere. No discoloration within the visible print. Some tape residue on the verso.
Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) was born to a textile dealer as the first son. His uncle was Kanagaki Robun, a famous playwrite. A pupil of Kaburaki Kiyokata who gave him the Go of “Hasui”. Afterwards, he got to know Watanabe Shozaburo, then had a chance to see “Omi Hakkei” created by Ito Shinsui from the same school as his, which brought about an interest in the woodblock printing. In 1918, he released three pieces of “Shiobara” from Watanabe Printshop, afterwards, produced a number of landscape prints throughout his life.