Originally published in 1948, this print has the Watanabe 6mm seal in the lower left of the image area, denoting a printing between 1945 and 1957 (a lifetime strike and considered a first edition). A gorgeous example of one of Hasui’s most popular and recognizable scenes.
The Woodblock Print
This oban-sized woodblock is in very fine to excellent condition; strong color, good register, no discolorations within the print. Minor toning along the outer edge of the margin, and a tiny bit of tape residue on the top edge of the verso. A stunning printing of this woodblock.
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. The most common are termed “lifetime editions” which have a 6mm Watanabe seal, but there are also modern reprintings that have a 7mm or “Heisei seal”. These modern reprintings have lesser value, but are often being sold at “lifetime edition” prices (so take note before purchasing).