The Red Setting Sun
signed Hasui at lower left, titled on the upper left margin, Akai Yu-hi, followed by the date, Showa juninen kyugatsu saku (made in Showa 12 , September), and carver's seal, Hori Tadasu (Watanabe Tadasu), the publisher's seal on right margin, Hanken shoyu fukyo mosha Watanabe Shozaburo (Copyright ownership, reproduction not allowed without permission, Watanabe Shozaburo), 1937
aiban yoko-e 9 5/8 by 13 7/8 in., 24.5 by 35.4 cm
This print is one of only four war prints designed by Hasui, who is far better-known for his idyllic Japanese landscapes. The compositions were guided by the family of the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962); the subject was suggested by Shozaburo's nephew and assistant, Watanabe Tatsushichi (b. 1918) following Japan's entrance into war with China in July of 1937, and the blocks were carved by Shozaburo's son, Watanabe Tadasu. Hasui based the designs on atmospheric photographs of the Imperial Japanese Army from the frontlines in Manchuria as published in the magazine Asahi gurafu (Asahi Graph).
Prints published by Watanabe usually did not include carver and printer seals, however, the publisher made an exception for some of the prints which were carved by his son, Tadasu.
The impression illustrated in Brown's Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints, features a soft grey to yellow sky which gradates to orange on the horizon, in contrast with this variant which is closer to the impression illustrated in Conflicts of Interest, with a soft purple-grey sky gradating to pink and glowing pink-orange on the horizon. The grey contour lines around the figures which emphasize the atmospheric effect are indicative of an early printing--and were removed on later examples, such as the deeply saturated orange-red impression illustrated in Kawase Hasui mokuhanga shu.
Narazaki Muneshige, Kawase Hasui mokuhanga shu, 1979, p. 129, no. 406
Kendall H. Brown, Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints, 2003, vol. I, pp. 28-29; vol. II, p. 502, no. 415
Philip K. Hu, ed., Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2016, p. 286, no. 138, accession no. 255:2014
(inv. no. C-3039)
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