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 print, “A Lighthouse”, was the sole contribution by the female artist Gyosai Kawanabe. Perhaps because she’s less recognized, and her signature isn’t as well known, this print is much harder to find than the ones by Yoshimune, Koho, or Eijiro… or perhaps because she wasn’t as sought out, there are fewer copies in circulation. We’ll never know.
The Woodblock Print
This chuban-sized woodblock is an early edition with incredibly dark and rich color in excellent condition. The darkness is not from any paper toning, but instead the richness of the ink. The orange highlights/flames pop against the blues. A clean verso with strong edges. Trimmed as is expected for early editions.
Gyosui Kawanabe was one of the handful famous female artists within the Shin Hanga movement. She taught Nihon-ga, Japanese traditional painting, at Joshibi University of Arts and Crafts, and was the daughter of Kyosai Kawanabe, the eccentric genius in Edo-Meiji era.