Boats are moored along an embankment of the Edogawa or Edo River at Imai. At the end of the pier at right, a worker gestures towards a man in a boat below. This image depicts what remained of the Imai ferry boat terminal in the early 1950s. The Imai river boat was used to cross Edo River until 1912 (the first year of Taishō) until Imai Bridge was built. The surface of the water shimmers, with ripples radiating from the boat at lower right. An interesting design with a unique perspective, this first edition has a much more limited color palette, whereas the later edition brings in brighter colors and significant greens to enliven the scene.
The Woodblock Print
This oban-sized woodblock is in excellent condition; strong color with only faint toning in the sky area and margins. Full and intact margins and a clean verso. A rare first edition of the print based on the margin information.
About the Artist
Shiro Kasamatsu (笠松 紫浪, 1898-1991) was a Japanese engraver and print maker trained and excelled 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.