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Hazy Evening at Shinobazu Pond


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Hazy Evening at Shinobazu Pond

by Kasamatsu Shirō, originally 1932

IHL Cat. #6

About This Print

Source: Bridging East and West: The Search for Japan in the Midst of Modernization, Sydney L. LaLonde, Friends of the Connecticut College Library, Friends of the Library Occasional Publications, Connecticut College, 2008 http://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=folpub

The brushstrokes Shiro utilizes to depict the water are reminiscent of the broken brushstrokes made famous by the French Impressionists. However, the brushwork in the rest of the image is too precise to be considered impressionistic. The highly developed sense of perspective can also be attributed to Western artistic influences. Visible through the tree in the immediate foreground, the pathway leads the eye through the image to the stairway leading even further into the background.

The electric lanterns lining the path are another, more concrete manifestation of Japan’s Westernization, as is the location of the image itself: Ueno Park in Tokyo. Designed in imitation of the Western concept of a public park with museums and grand promenades, the park exemplifies Japanese appropriation of architectural, as well as ideological appropriations of Western imperialism.

Lawrence Smith describes this print'sdepiction of the Pond as "very romanticised.. it reflects partly theWestern view of picturesque Japan."1

For other prints depicting Shinobazu Pond see Kasamatsu's Rainy Night at Shinobazu Pond and Hasui's Night at Shinobazu Pond

Notes on the Original Edition

Source: Modern Japanese Prints, Dorothy Blair, re-print of the 1931 and 1936 exhibition catalogues, The Toledo Museum of Art, 1997.
Print #163 Hazy Evening On The Shore of Shinobazu Pond (Kasumu Yube – Shinobazu Chihan)

The artist has represented a blue haze over the landscape, with sharp detail in the foreground. 141/4” x 93/8”.
Unsigned, but the artist’s seal, “Shiro”, at lower left on trunk of tree.  Left margin: the Japanese title; the date, “Showa Shichi Nen Haru” (Spring of the 7th Year of Showa [1932]); artist’s name, Kasamatsu Shiro.  Right margin: copyright stamp of publisher, Watanabe of Tokyo.  Blocks, about 20; superimposed printings, about 25; edition, 300.

Ueno Park and Shinobazu Pond

Exhibition Wall Label for this print from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art online exhibition ”Japanese Prints: Edo/Tokyo”

Source: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art website http://collectionsonline.lacma.org/mwebcgi/mweb.exe?request=record;id=119989;type=101
Ueno Park was the first of five public parks to be opened by the Japanese government in 1873. Formerly part of the shogunal properties of the high city, Ueno was the site of Kan’eiji, the funerary temple of the Tokugawa shoguns, now reduced to only the main gate of the original complex. Ueno was a battleground during an uprising after the restoration of the Emperor, when samurai tried to regain their position and their honor. The destruction of Kan’eiji and Ueno during the battle left the area open for new development during the Meiji era, and it became the site of the great central park of the city, containing the national museums and zoo. Shinobazu Pond is at the western end of the park, and was originally built by the shogunate to be reminiscent of Lake Biwa near Kyoto, one of the famous sights of Japan.

1 The Japanese Print Since 1900: Old Dreams and Bew Visions, Lawrence Smith, British Museum Publications, Ltd., 1983, p. 96

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #6
 Title Hazy Evening at Shinobazu Pond
 霞む夕べ−不忍池畔 Kasumu yūbe – Shinobazu chihan
 Kasamatsu Shirō (1898–1991)
 not signed
 Date originally published 1932, Spring
 Edition Later edition (c. 1946-1957) with black circular 6 mm Watanabe seal in lower right hand corner of image.  [Marks: seal 08-034; pub. ref. 576]
 Publisher  Watanabe Shōzaburō
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre shin hanga (new prints)
 Format ōban tate-e
 H x W Paper 15 1/4 x 10 1/4 in. (38.7 x 26 cm)
 H x W Image 14 1/4 x 9 1/2 in. (36.2 x 23.8 cm)
 Collections This PrintLos Angeles County Museum of Art (M.73.37.347) (6mm “I” type seal visible lower left corner of image) and M.2000.105.29 (no seal discernable on image); University of Alberta Art Collection 2001.6.22 (unidentified edition);TheBritish Museum 1946,0209,0.86 (with Watanabe D-type seal lower right margin);Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 49.1212 (with Watanabe E-type seal lower right margin);National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo P00211-042 (unknown edition); Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art MWJ51:K5 (G-type Watanabe publisher seal)
 Reference LiteratureCatalogue Raisonné: W-06 as listed in Shiro Kasamatsu - The Complete Woodblock Prints, Dr. Andreas Gund, self-published by the author, 2001, Tokyo; The Changing City as Depicted in Modern Woodblock Prints - Tokyo in Transition, Edo-Tokyo Museum, 1996, p. 86; TheJapanese Print Since 1900: Old Dreams and New Nisions, LawrenceSmith, British Museum Publications, Ltd., 1983, p. 83, plate 77 p. 96; The New Wave Twentieth-century Japanese prints form the Robert O. Muller Collection, Amy Reigle Stephens, Bamboo Publishing Ltd. & Hotei-Japanese Prints, 1993, p. 196, pl. 258; Modern Japanese Prints, Dorothy Blair, re-print of the 1931 and 1936exhibition catalogues, The Toledo Museum of Art, 1997, figure 174; Hanga ni miru Tokyo no fukei; Kanto daishinsai kara senzen made, Ota Kuritsu Kyodo Hakubutsukan, 2002, pl. 229, p. 58.
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