a case of the Hasui Kawase blues

Spring Moon at Ninomiya Beach (1932)

Japanese master woodblock printmaker Hasui Kawase (1883-1957), one of the most prominent artists of the shin-hanga (“new prints”) movement. Though I know very little about Japanese art, Hasui’s work spoke to me instantly. Such exquisite understated beauty! So peaceful and calming!

Born in Tokyo, he studied both Japanese and European painting techniques and is known as the “Master of Snow.” He liked to travel around Japan, sketching and making watercolors of scenic landscapes and townscapes, upon which he based his prints. The shin-hanga movement focused on traditional themes (landscapes, famous places, beautiful women, birds and flowers) but incorporated Western elements (effects of light, expression of moods).

Moon Over Akebi Bridge (1935)

Hasui considered himself a realist, and his prints express a certain longing for a bygone Japan during a time of rapid social and cultural change. His work is characterized by its delicacy, restraint, and flawless composition.

Since this is my “think blue” year, today I’m sharing some of my favorite Hasui prints with blue as the predominant color. Bask in the serenity of his world. Deep breaths . . .

Evening Snow at Edo River (1932)
Moon at Megome (1930)
Night Rain at Omiya (1930)
Early Summer Rain, Arakawa (1932)
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