A lovely winter scene of two women in traditional kimono crossing a snow-covered bridge over the Edo River. Snow gently falls through the gray evening sky coating the willow tree that frames the view. A somewhat rare and highly sought after snow scene by Hasui.
The Woodblock Print
This oban-sized woodblock is in fine condition. Good color and impression, intact margins, and a rare find. There are uneven toning spots throughout the print. Doi Hangaten “D” seal, used between 1946-1955 (lifetime); believed to have been used post-war but with the original pre-war blocks. The center box mentions the printer Itoh, the lower box the carver Ikeda. A few areas have been scraped along the edges of the image.
About the Artist
One of the most sought-after Japanese printmakers, and perhaps the most recognizable shin-hanga landscape artist. Kawase Hasui (川瀬巴水, 1883-1957) was born to a textile dealer as the first son. His uncle was Kanagaki Robun, a famous playwright. 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.