Ito Shinsui, Hazy Moon on a Spring Night, Shin Hanga


Artist: Ito Shinsui (1898-1972)
Title: Hazy Moon on a Spring Night
Publisher: Watanabe Shozaburo
Date: 1931
Edition: Specially selected [sealed tokubetsu-sen]
Dimensions: 27.7 x 43.5 cm

Original Japaense woodblock print.

A portrait of a seated lady resting her arm on the balustrade behind her. Calmly poised beneath a hazy moonlight lustre, cherry blossom petals dreamily drift in space with the same motif mirrored on the model's light grey kimono. The seasonal and nocturnal setting implies Oborozukiyo (The Lady of the Misty Moon), Genji's lover from the eponymous epic narrative. The protagonist calls her this name because of the imagery of the fan she gives to him, and is echoed here by the fan cartouche on the model's obi sash. Shinsui was renowned for his elegant portraits of women and sophisticated approach to his designs. His artwork achieved the status of Intangible Living Treasure in 1952 and latter received the Order of the Rising Sun in 1970, a remarkable volte-face for a man forced into his trade at a young age in order to support his poverty-stricken family.

More Information
Print Format Other
Artist Name Shinsui Ito
Title Hazy Moon on a Spring Night
Subject Beauty & Female, Modern/Shin-Hanga
Dimensions 27.7 x 43.5 cm
Condition Report Minor fold in paper. Small hole restored.

Shinsui Ito

Ito Shinsui without doubt, is regarded as one of the most significant artists of the Shin Hanga movement, and is considered as the last Ukiyo-e artist. Alongside Uemura Shoen (1875-1949), Shinsui was considered a master of bijinga (images of beautiful women). At the age of eighteen, Shinsui joined the Shin Hanga movement, which included major artists such as Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) and Hashiguchi Goyo (1880-1921). Established by the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962) the movement aimed to revive the older structure of ukiyo-e (woodblock print) production. Ito established his own independent studio in 1927. Although many of his early works were direct reflections of traditional ukiyo-e both in subject matter and in style, his technique was revolutionary. Ito would paint a ‘master painting’ in watercolors, and dedicated craftsmen would make the actual prints from this ‘master copy’. Watanabe and Ito continued their business cooperation into the 1960s, and Watanabe exported thousands of Shinsui prints, generating great success for them both.