A long-haired white cat lounges gracefully on a red blanket, its eyes mischievously glowing a pale blue.
This extremely rare print was designed and self-published by the artist, Shiro Kasamatsu was one of only a handful of artists that were successful as both Shin-Hanga and Sōsaku-Hanga artists. Published in 1957, this is a limited edition, first edition, numbered in marker “No. 18” without any edition letter. Signed “Shiro” in gold ink on the image.
An extremely rare self-published print, we’ve only been able to locate one other existing copy (located in the Shiro Kasamatsu catalog). The version in the catalog varies, having golden eyes instead of the pale blue eyes shown here.
The Woodblock Print
This woodblock is in excellent condition, with rich, strong color throughout the woodblock. A clean verso, intact margins, deckled edges. Kento cutout in the lower corner.
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.