Kawase Hasui, Snow at Kiyomizu Hall, Ueno

Kawase Hasui, 1883-1957

Snow at Kiyomizu Hall, Ueno
(Ueno Kiyomizudo no yuki)

signed Hasui with artist's seal Kawase, the print title at the center of the bottom margin, Ueno Kiyomizudo no yuki, and dated to the right, Showa yonnen nanagatsu saku (Showa 4 [1929], 7th month), with publisher's small oval-shaped seal Kawaguchi at lower right corner, and hori Ito suri, Komatsu, hanken shoyu (carved by Ito, printed by Komatsu, copyright) at lower left, ca. 1931

oban tate-e 15 1/2 by 10 3/4 in., 39.5 by 27.2 cm

Although Hasui's primary publisher was Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962), he did occasionally work with other publishing houses. This design was the first of sixteen print which were produced with the publishers Sakai and Kawaguchi working together beginning in 1929. Although artistically the collaboration was a success with extremely high-quality printing of excellent compositions, the business arrangement was notably short-lived. In 1931 the partnership ended with Kawaguchi retaining the blocks of the Hasui designs as well as the blocks for prints by other artists such as Torii Kotondo (1900-1976).

This impression of Snow at Kiyomizu Hall, with only the seals of Kawaguchi, indicates it is from what is thought to be a third edition produced by Kawaguchi after 1931. The subtle gradations of the grey in the snow on the ground, steps, and roof, as well as the addition of shading and gradations on the temple walls and very cleverly on the votive plaque above the door all suggest that Kawaguchi employed highly-skilled printers who certainly maintained the standard if not improved ever so slightly on the earlier editions.

Reference:
Kendall H. Brown, Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints, 2003, no.181

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