Condition: Excellent

Kawase Hasui (Hardcover) | Kendall H. Brown & Shoichiro Watanabe | Boxed 2 Volume Set | 2003 | Hotei (KIT) Publishing (Netherlands)

Descriptive Qualities — Condition: RARE COLLECTORS FIRST EDITION, uncirculated copy | ISBN: 90-74822-46-0, each volume is in its original excellent condition, unbroken spine with dust jacket, and housed in its original cloth covered box. Dimensions: Each Volume—9-1/4” x 11-3/4” x 600 total pages; weight 12 pounds, (This original offering price includes free domestic or international shipping). The publisher sold out of this limited edition in 2003, (see: http://www.ukiyoe-gallery.com/bookref.htm), when it was originally released. The set being sold remains unopened and in its original shrink-wrap. Note: NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE SECOND EDITION, (2008), WITH A DIFFERENT COVER IMAGE.

Overview — Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints Volume 1 & 2 features an amazing 670 full-color illustrations, 20 watercolors, and 100 black/white illustrations and marks. The work of the foremost 20th-century Japanese landscape print artist, Kawase Hasui, (1883-1957), produced over 600 woodblock prints during a career spanning almost forty years. Hasui most closely associated with the pioneering Shinhanga, (new prints), publisher Watanabe Shozaburo, (1885-1962), who sought to re-vitalise the tradition of Japanese woodblock prints as epitomised in the works of the famous 19th-century landscape artists Katsushika Hokusai, (1760-1849), and Utagawa Hiroshige, (1797-1858).

An avid traveller, Hasui sketched the countryside, towns and cities of his native Japan. He was intrigued by seasonal and climatic changes, and how this influenced or tempered the mood of a composition. The play of light also fascinated the artist, and his landscapes bathed in moonlight often express a feeling of quietude unique in the medium. But it was Hasui’s evocation of the snowscape that singles him out as a master of the landscape print.

Hasui’s lifelong contribution to the woodblock print medium was acknowledged by the Japanese government in 1956 with his being honored as a ‘Living National Treasure’. Over twenty years later, in 1979, the first monograph on his work was completed, and since that time numerous exhibitions of Hasui’s work have helped to establish his reputation in Japan and abroad, especially in the United States.

Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints presents two essays by Kendall H. Brown that discuss the life and work of the artist, and the poetics of his art. This is followed by a short piece by Watanabe Shoichiro on the complex issue of editions, versions and variations. This two-volume, fully illustrated and bi-lingual publication stands as a catalogue raisonne’ of Hasui’s prints, including work designed for publishers other than Watanabe. Each print is accompanied by descriptive captions, providing excerpts from Hasui’s own diaries, commentary written in 1979 by the print scholar Narazaki Munesige, as well as information regarding the history and location of the sights portrayed by the artist in his prints.

Additional Information — Kendall H. Brown received degrees in history and art history from the University of California. Berkeley and a Ph.D. in art  history from Yale University. He has published the books The Politics of Reclusion: Painting and Power in Momoyama Japan, (1997), and Japanese-style Gardens of the Pacific West coast, (1999). His contributions to exhibition catalogues include Shin Hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan, (1996); Light in Darkness: Women in Japanese Prints of Early Showa, (1926-1945)-(1996); Between Two Worlds: The Life and Art of Lilian May Miller, (1998): Taisho Chic: Japanese Modernity, Nostalgia and Deco, (2002), and A Japanese Legacy: Four Generation of Yoshida Family Artists, (2002).

Watanabe Shoichiro received a business degree from Keio University in Tokyo. He entered the family firm of the Watanabe Mokuhan Bijutsu Gaho (Watanabe woodblock art store) in 1986. Four years later, in 1992, he became the director of the Watanabe Hangaten (Watanabe print shop), thereby becoming the third-generation head of the company after his grandfather Watanabe Shozaburo and his father Watanabe Tadasu.

NOTE: Images 4-6 — Kawase, Hasui (1883-1957); Watanabe, Shozoburo (1885-1962); Image of Ito Shina and his wife, Inge and Robert O. Muller, Kawase Hasui, Monyama Tetsuro, Watanabe Shozaburo, Kasamatsu Shiro, [taken in 1940 – back row, right to left].

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