K a w a s e- - H a s u i - - 1 8 8 3 - 1 9 5 7
“I do not paint subjective impressions. My work is based on reality...I can not falsify...(but) I can simplify…I make mental impressions of the light and color at the time of sketching. While coloring the sketch, I am already imagining the effects in a woodblock print.”
Kawase Hasui (1883–1957) is the most celebrated 20th-century Japanese print designer of the shin-hanga ('new prints') movement pioneered by the renowned publisher Watanabe Shozaburo. Hasui worked almost exclusively on landscape and townscape prints based on sketches he made in Tokyo and during his travels in Japan. His subjects are not only 'meish?' (famous places) prints which were typical of the earlier ukiyo-e masters such as Hiroshige and Hokusai, but also feature tranquil and picturesque scenes in obscure locations. Hasui considered himself a realist and employed his training in Western painting to create his lyrical renderings with naturalistic light, shade, and texture. Hasui was able to evoke the fleeting beauty of Japan during the interwar period as no other printmaker of his time could.
Hasui's work enjoyed huge popularity upon producing his first print in 1918. Watanabe recognized and developed the enormous potential of the American market, resulting in Hasui's prints achieving high prices at auctions in New York as early as the 1920s. After the Second World War, his prints became highly sought-after collectible works among the American occupying forces in Japan. Hasui designed more than 600 prints during the 40-year span of his artistic career, and in 1956, he was named a 'Living National Treasure' of Japan.
Hasui’s woodblock prints are included in many important museum collections of Japanese prints worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; British Museum; Brooklyn Museum; Clark Art Institute; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Freer Gallery of Art; Harvard Art Museums; Indianapolis Museum of Art; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, Matsumoto, Japan; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Minneapolis Institute of Art; MOA Museum of Art, Japan; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; Portland Art Museum; Stanley Museum of Art; Toledo Museum of Art; Tokyo Museum Collection, Japan; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Walters Art Museum, Smart Museum of Art; and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Rain at Shinagawa, Ryoshimachi - from the seres Selection of Views of the Tokaido - -1931, Color Woodblock
Signed Hasui in black ink, with the artist’s red seal Kawase, lower left. The 6mm circular seal of publisher Watanabe (used 1946-1957), lower right, indicating a lifetime impression.
Image size 14 1/4 x 9 3/8 inches (362 x 238 mm); sheet size approximately 15 1/4 x 10 3/8 inches (387 x 264 mm).
A very fine, atmospheric impression, with fresh colors and refined bokashi shading in the sky and water; the full sheet, in excellent condition.
Collections:: Art Institute of Chicago; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Achenbach Foundation; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
The Beach at Kaiganji in Sanuki Province -from the series Collected Views of Japan II - -1934, Color Woodblock.
Signed Hasui with the artist’s seal Kawase, lower left. Published by Watanabe Shozaburo with the Watanabe D seal indicating an early impression printed between 1931-1941. Stamped faintly Made in Japan in the bottom center margin, verso.
Horizontal ôban; image size 9 3/8 x 14 1/4 inches (238 x 362 mm); sheet size approximately 10 5/16 x 15 1/2 inches (262 x 394 mm).
A fine, atmospheric impression, with fresh colors and refined bokashi shading in the sky and ground; the full sheet, in excellent condition.
Collections: Art Institute of Chicago; Austrian Museum of Applied Arts (Vienna); Honolulu Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Mount Fuji, Narusawa (Late Autumn) - -1936, Color Woodblock.
Hotei 395. Signed Hasui in black ink, with the artist’s red seal Kawase, lower right. The 6mm circular seal of publisher Watanabe (used 1946-1957), lower left, indicating a lifetime impression.
Image size 9 7/16 x 14 1/4 inches (240 x 362 mm); sheet size approximately 10 3/8 x 15 1/4 inches (264 x 387 mm).
A fine impression with fresh colors and refined bokashi shading in the sky and mountains; on cream wove Japan paper, the full sheet with margins, in excellent condition.
Collections: Art Institute of Chicago; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Museum of Fine Arts Boston.