Spring Evening at the Kintaikyo Bridge

Kawase HASUI
Date
1947
Description

A very fine impression, with fresh, vivid colors, from the original publisher's folder, never matted, framed or exposed to light, in pristine condition. Signed 'Hasui' in black ink with the artist’s red seal 'Kawase', lower left. The 6mm circular seal of publisher Watanabe (used 1946-1957), lower right, indicating a lifetime impression.

Image size 14 5/16 x 9 7/16 inches (364 x 240 mm); sheet size 15 3/8 x 10 1/2 inches (391 x 267 mm).

A view of the Kintaikyo Bridge through cherry blossoms as a boatman passes under one of the picturesque bridge’s five arches. Kintaikyo Bridge, in Yamaguchi Prefecture, was built in the late 17th century by Lord Hiroyoshi Kikkawa after the Nishiki River flooded. Considered one of Japan's most beautiful bridges, its five linked arches form a graceful span across the Nishiki River. Because of its unique shape, it is also known as the Abacus Bridge. The treasured bridge was washed away by a flood in 1950 and reconstructed in 1953, precisely replicating the original. An engineering marvel, only clamps and wires (no nails) were used in its construction. An impression of this print is in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Hasui Kawase (1883–1957) remains one of the most celebrated 20th-century Japanese print designers of the shin-hanga ('new prints') movement pioneered by the renowned publisher Watanabe Shozaburo. Hasui worked almost exclusively on landscape and townscape prints based on sketches he made in Tokyo and during his travels in Japan. His subjects are not only 'meishō' (famous places) prints, which were typical of the earlier ukiyo-e masters such as Hiroshige and Hokusai, but also feature tranquil and picturesque scenes in obscure locations. Hasui considered himself a realist and employed his training in Western painting to create his lyrical renderings with naturalistic light, shade, and texture. In 1956, he was named a 'Living National Treasure' in Japan.

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