In the 1920s, the publisher Hasegawa commissioned a small group of artists to create woodblock prints for a series entitled “Hasegawa’s Night Scenes“, of which there were a total of 21 prints by 6 artists.
This lovely silhouette of a seated woman and a standing oarsman against an evening river scene is one of the more rare pieces from the series and one of the few with such obvious emotional impact.
The Woodblock Print
This chuban-sized woodblock by Arai Yoshimune is a mid edition print with dark and rich color in very good condition if not excellent condition. The darkness is not from any paper toning, but instead the richness of the ink. Clean and intact margins, a mostly clean verso with tape residue along the upper edge. Deckled top edge to the paper.
About the Artist
Utagawa Yoshimune II (1863-1941), who went by the name of Arai Yoshimune, was the eleventh and youngest son of Utagawa Yoshimune I (1817-1880) and spent his childhood residence in the Kinroku-chō area of Tokyo. At a young age he studied with the famous ukiyo-e artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) and he assumed the name Toshiyuki at age thirteen. After his father’s death he was adopted by the Arai family. He succeeded his father in 1882 to become Yoshimune II and occasionally used his father’s art name Isshōsai, along with the adopted name Arai Yoshimune.
Arai worked as illustrator and print designer, with much/most of his known work printed by either the Hasegawa or Nishinomiya publishing houses, his most famous contributions coming as part of Hasegawa’s Night Scenes.