Kawase Hasui, Sanno After the Rain

Kawase Hasui, 1883-1957

Sanno After the Rain
(Sanno no ugo)

signed Hasui with artist's seal Kawase, the title on the left margin, Sanno no ugo, followed by the date, Showa jusannen saku (Showa 13 [1938]), with publisher's round Watanabe (Hotei 'A') seal at lower right and (Hotei 'D') seal in the margin, Hanken shoyu Watanabe Shozaburo (Copyright ownership Watanabe Shozaburo), ca. 1938

oban tate-e 15 7/8 by 10 3/4 in., 40.2 by 27.2 cm

This impression of a 1938 design presents an interesting example where Watanabe used two publisher seals in a combination which departs from our general (and sometimes erroneous) understanding of their use. The round (approx. 6 mm) Watanabe seal is found on period impressions of Hasui prints up until at least the mid-1920s, before changing regulations neccessitated the introduction of a variety of longer copyright seals usually found in the margins. The round seal then returns to use around the time of the conclusion of the war (during which print production had dramatically decreased). Thus if a design that was first issued in the late 1920s or 1930s has a 6mm round seal it is usually identified as a post-war printing (if the round seal is similar but slightly larger, approx 7mm, it is usually identified as a posthumous printing). This impression (as well as a very similar impression illustrated in both books referenced below) breaks the 'rules'- the seal on the margin (often called the sausage seal in reference the stylized tassels on the top and bottom) was widely in use in the 1930s up until circa 1942, and as such, the combination of seals is appropriate for a print dated 1938.

Published:
Irwin J. Pachter, Kawase Hasui and His Contemporaries: The Shin Hanga (New Print) Movement in Landscape Art, Everson Museum of Art, 1986, p. 74, pl. 88

References:
Kato Junzo, comp., Kindai Nihon hanga taikei, 1975-76, Vol. III, no. 18
Kendall H. Brown, Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints, 2003, no. 427
Kendall H. Brown, Visions of Japan: Kawase Hasui's Masterpieces, 2004, no. 77

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