Kawase Hasui Woodblock – Tsukishima no yuki | Snow, Tsukishima

Kawase Hasui (1883 – 1957) was a prominent Japanese painter of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and one of the chief printmakers in the shin hanga, “new prints” movement. Hasui studied ukiyo-e and Japanese style painting at the studio of Kaburagi Klyokata (1878-1973). He mainly concentrated on producing watercolors of actors, everyday life, and landscapes, and his famous snow scenes, many of them published as illustrations in books and magazines in the last few years of the Meiji period and early Taisho period. In 1956, Kawase Hasui’s life-long contribution to his craft was acknowledged by the Japanese Government by naming him as a ‘Living National Treasure‘.

The name of this piece is: Snow at Tsukishima (Tsukishima no yuki) from the Series of Twenty Views of Tokyo (Tokyo nijukkei). Dated: 1936 (number H5-4). What is unusual about this particular piece is that it was signed in pencil by Hasui on the back with a drawing of a self-portrait, and dated. This was obviously given as a gift by the artist to a friend. The Mita Arts Gallery (Japanese print specialists) published a similar edition, in their catalogue #34, which sold in 2008, at above market price since this piece is rarely available. Condition: Good impression and color, slightly toned. Not laid down (with the exception of the hinges to prevent slippage of the piece when framed), no fading, uncut and no trimmed edges. All appropriate signatures/seals for woodblocks done by Hasui and published by Watanabe Shozaburo. Image Dimensions: 9 ½” x 14 ¼” (24.1cm x 36.2cm).

Reference: Kendall Brown, Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints, 2003 and Mita Arts Catalogue #34.

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