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signed in blue ink Hasui, with red circular seal Kawase, with publisher’s (Hotei ‘D’) seal on right margin, Hanken shoyu Watanabe Shozaburo (Copyright ownership Watanabe Shozaburo), the title on the left-hand margin, Suo Kintaikyo, followed by the date beneath, Taisho jusannen saku (made in Taisho 13 )
oban yoko-e 10 3/8 by 15 3/8 in., 26.3 by 39 cm
A nocturnal streetscape in the rain of a narrow street beside a canal; on either side are low buildings (spa inns) and tall electric poles. The palette is extremely dark, aside from areas of blue in the water, the yellow umbrella of a pedestrian, and the warm orange-yellow of the lit windows, all else is rendered in black and shades of grey. In the distance, the shape of a mountain is barely visible against the dark sky; lighter areas of mist settle on the lower hills. On some impressions of this print the rain block, printed in black, can over-power the composition, distorting the view with unfocused vertical striations. This impression, with the earliest possible publisher seal, maintains the subtle gradations of color without obscuring the complex details of the keyblock carving.
The Great Kanto Earthquake of the previous year marked a turning point for shin-hanga. Watanabe of course recovered (his competitor, Kobayashi did not), but with limited resources to get back on his feet, Watanabe must have, to a certain extent, focused production on works which would be commercially viable. In the coming years, he and Hasui increasingly refined their idyllic views, with fewer touches of the modern world, such as the electric poles in this print. Likewise there are fewer examples of experimental creative expression, such as this highly unusual and dramatic rendering of rain in black ink.
Kato, Junzo, comp., Kindai Nihon hanga taikei, 1975-76, Vol. 3, pl. 21
Narazaki Muneshige, Kawase Hasui mokuhanga shu, 1979, pl. 121
Irwin J. Pachter, Kawase Hasui and His Contemporaries, 1986, p. 51, pl. 33
Kendall H. Brown and Goodall-Cristante, Hollis, Shin Hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan, 1996, p. 19, fig. 4
Kendall H. Brown, Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints, 2003, p 341, pl. 121
Hasui Kawase, Kawase Hasui Woodblock Prints, Abe Shuppan, Tokyo, 2009, p. 44, no. 58
Putney, Carolyn M., et. al., Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 2013, p. 131, cat. 74
Hisao Shimizu, Kawase Hasui, Fulk Museum of Ota City, 2013, p. 41, no. 39
Chiba City Museum of Art, Kawase Hasui, NHK Service Center, 2013, p. 76, no. 71
(inv. no. 10-5184)