Kawase Hasui – Rain at Maekawa (Selected Views of the Tôkaidô Road)
“A rainy night, a row of thatch-roofed houses line the street – a traditional woodblock print design and one of Hasui’s favourites. …The rain is created through the use of the baren (pad used to apply colour during print)”
Sōshū is present-day Kanagawa Prefecture. The array of traditional thatched-roof houses along the street, the shadows of large pine trees, a person walking with an umbrella, and the straight lines of rain produce a sense of tranquility as well as the nostalgia reminiscent of some work by Utagawa Hiroshige:
“A rainy night, a row of thatch-roofed houses line the street – a traditional woodblock print design and one of Hasui's favourites. …The rain is created through the use of the baren (pad used to apply colour during print)”.
Hasui's biographer and compiler of the artist's first catalogue raisoneeé Kawase Hasui mokuhanga shu, Mainichi Shinbun, Tokyo, 1979.
The Woodblock Print
This woodblock by Hasui is in very good condition; strong color and rich blacks, no discoloration, almost no toning to the paper, strong margins and edges. Delicate warm variations in the color of the reflections. There is a small pinhole in the upper left margin. Residue of a light wax sheet on the verso, used to affix the print to backing.
Originally published in 1932, this print has the Watanabe Publisher "6-mm" seal, indicating a lifetime printing (1946-57).
About the Artist
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.