One of two prints by Shiro Kasamatsu of Yomei Gate (Light Rain and Snow), both designs take on an incredible perspective from different directions, one design pre-war for Watanabe, one design post-war for Unsodo (Snow, pictured here).
This image, light rain, has incredible detail and nuances throughout the image, from the myriad of different shades in the sky, to the vast details in the shrine architecture. Originally published in 1935, this has the 6mm Watanabe “lifetime” seal. A rarely seen print by Shiro Kasamatsu.
The Woodblock Print
This oban-sized woodblock is in excellent condition; rich, vibrant blue tones with warm red and yellow accents. Clean and intact margins, clean verso.
About the Artist
Shiro Kasamatsu (笠松 紫浪, 1898-1991) was a Japanese engraver and print maker trained and excelling in the Shin-Hanga and Sōsaku-Hanga styles of woodblock printing.
Shiro was born in Tokyo in 1898, and was apprenticed at the age of 13 to Kaburagi Kiyokata (1878–1973), a traditional master of bijin-ga. Kasamatsu however took an interest in landscape and was given the pseudonym “Shiro” by his teacher. Kasamatsu made woodblock prints for the publisher Shōzaburō Watanabe from 1919 until the late 1940s. All of the earlier woodblocks were destroyed in a fire in Watanabe’s print shop following the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Around 50 prints were published by Watanabe by the late 1940s. Kasamatsu began to partner with Unsodo in Kyoto from the 1950s and produced nearly 102 prints by 1960. He also began to print and publish on his own in the Sōsaku-Hanga style, producing nearly 80 Sōsaku-Hanga prints between 1955 and 1965 (pencil signed and numbered editions).
Shiro Kasamatsu is unique within modern Japanese woodblock printmakers in that he is equally well-regarded for both his shin-hanga and sosaku-hanga prints.