Shotei, Night Rain on Izumi Bridge

Takahashi Hiroaki (Shotei), 1871-1945

Night Rain on Izumi Bridge
(Izumibashi no yau)

the title at the upper right, Izumibashi no yau, with artist's red seal, Shotei, published by Watanabe, ca. 1909-1923

otanzaku yoko-e 6 3/4 by 14 7/8 in., 17.1 by 37.9 cm

In 1923 the publishing firm of Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962) was destroyed in the fires following the Great Kanto Earthquake. Although all of the stock of antique prints, new prints and their woodblocks were lost, Watanabe managed to return to business by 1924, and some designs, including this one, were re-cut and published. The new version had a very similar composition and title was changed from Night Rain on Izumi Bridge (Izumibashi no yau), to Rain on Izumi Bridge (Izumibashi no Ame). Whereas Shotei's original design was a sketchy, impressionistic fusion of Japanese and Western influences calling to mind the images of James McNeill Whistler's variations on the Battersea Bridge from the 1870s (which reference Hiroshige's 1857 Kyobashi from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo), the new version presented a sleeker, more polished landscape that typifies early shin hanga landscapes. The impression offered here is a very rare example of the pre-earthquake version of the design.

References:
Hisao Shimizu, Syotei (Hiroaki) Takahashi, 2005, p. 42, pl. 84
Hisao Shimizu, The Collected Print Works of Shotei Takahashi, A Modern Ukiyo-e Painter, 2006, no. 28

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