Kawase Hasui, Bell Tower in Okayama, Shin-hanga Landscape

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Artist: Kawase Hasui (1883-1957)
Title: Bell Tower in Okayama
Publisher: Watanabe
Date: c.1947
Size: 26.9 x 38.8 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

Hasui Kawase was a shin-hanga (lit. 'new woodblock prints') artist best known for creating peaceful landscape prints by balancing refinement with respect for the ordinary. His prints are modern, but their themes and locations depicted yearn for a Japan past. His valuable contribution to woodblock printing was acknowledged in 1956, a year before his death, when he was honoured with the distinction of 'Living National Treasure'.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Hasui Kawase
Title Bell Tower in Okayama
Subject Landscapes, Modern/Shin-Hanga
Dimensions 26.9 x 38.8 cm
Condition Report Light browning and some water stains at the top. Light creases.

Hasui Kawase

Kawase Hasui was one of the important printmakers of the Shin Hanga (New Print) movement. He is best known for his landscape artworks. Hasui had designed more than 100 prints for Watanabe Shozaburo by the time the publisher's shops as well as the woodblocks for those prints were destroyed in the fire following the Great Kanto Earthquake. As a result, his prints and other works by Watanabe’s artists, published just before the catastrophic quake, are considered rare and sought after. This is particularly unfortunate in the case of Hasui as his early works including the series ‘Tokyo Juni Dai (Twelve Places of Tokyo)’ are recognised to be his most original art works. Hasui travelled frequently almost every year during his career as an artist. He visited the countryside, towns and cities in Japan, making sketches of the sceneries. His prints often feature the moon, reddening leaves in autumn and reflections on water surface, while people are hardly depicted in his print designs. These factors make the viewers of his prints feel quietude and peace. Yet it is his masterful depiction of snow falls that is most remarkable about Hasui's prints. In 1953, Hasui was commissioned by the Japanese government to create a print entitled ‘Snow at Zojoji Temple’, which was then designated as an Intangible Cultural Treasure. In 1956, the government, in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the woodblock print medium, designated Hasui a Living National Treasure.