A seated man in a traditional straw raincoat holds his tenkara fishing pole out over a gently rippling Lake Matsubara, possibly contemplating the still waters and beautiful reflections.
Originally published in 1941 (prior to the official start of the war with the United States), this is a rare first edition printing with the Watanabe “D” seal; rare in that it’s a first edition, but also that paper was scarce and being rationed in Japan during this period.
The Woodblock Print
This oban-sized woodblock is in good condition; good colors without any discoloration in the printed image. There is residue from taping in the margins and verso, but nothing that affects the image itself.
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 and is considered one of the greats of the Shin Hanga art movement in Japanese woodblock printing.
Notes when buying: Hasui woodblocks were printed and reprinted both during his lifetime and post-mortem. When evaluating a Hasui woodblock, it is important to look carefully at the publisher seal, which will give a rough approximation for when the print in question was published, which can then be compared to when that print was originally published. Learn more about recognizing Watanabe-published editions here.