Artist / Artwork

Kawase Hasui Prints

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1883-1957 Kawase studied ukiyo-e and Japanese style painting at the studio of Kiyokata Kaburagi. He mainly concentrated on making watercolors of actors, everyday life and landscapes, many of them published as illustrations in books and magazines in the last few years of the Meiji period and early Taishō period.

In the early Taishō period Kawase was recruited by the publisher Shōzaburō Watanabe, with the intention to design works for woodblock prints. Kawase left a large body of woodblock prints and watercolors. Many of the watercolors are linked to the woodblock prints, he also produced oil paintings, traditional hanging scrolls and a few byōbu (folding screens).

In the West, Kawase is mainly known as a Japanese woodblock printmaker. He and Hiroshi Yoshida are widely regarded as two of the greatest artists of the shin-hanga style, and are known especially for their landscape prints.

In 1923 there was a great earthquake in Japan that destroyed most of his artwork. During the forty years of his artistic career, Hasui worked closely with Shōzaburō Watanabe, publisher and advocate of the shin-hanga movement. His works became widely known in the West through American connoisseur Robert O. Muller (1911-2003). In 1956, he was named a Living National Treasure in Japan.

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