Souvenirs of Travels, First Series: Matsushima Seen from Katsura Island
(Tabi miyage dai isshu: Katsurashima matsushima)
dated and signed at lower left, Taisho hachi, natsu (Taisho 8 , summer) with artist's pre-earthquake seal Hasui, the title on the left margin and publisher's circular seal Watanabe (Watanabe Shozaburo) at lower right, 1919
10 1/4 by 15 in., 26 by 38.2 cm
One of the aspects of Hasui's landscapes that sets him apart from other print artists was his interest in composing unfamiliar views of familiar locations. Matsushima is a group of 260 small islands (shima) covered with pines (matsu) located off the coast of Miyagi prefecture. Long considered one of the three most scenic areas of Japan (the other two are Amanohashidate and Itsukushima), prints depicting famous views (meisho) of the Matsushima usually feature one or more of the rocky islands from various idyllic angles. Hasui, ever the compositional contrarian, approached the subject from a different vantage point, choosing to illustrate a view set back away from the shore from within a grove of pines on Katsura island, with other islands in the archipelago dotting the blue water in the distance.
Hasui's interest in the cluster of tree trunks with knotty roots recalls Ito Shinsui's (1898-1972) abstract composition of the trunk and gnarled branches of the ancient pine at Karasaki featured in his series Eight Views of Omi (Omi Hakkei) published by Watanabe in 1918 and exhibited in the fourth Kyodokai exhibition in 1918 where it was seen by Hasui and inspired him to endeavor to become a print artist himself.
Narazaki Muneshige, Kawase Hasui mokuhanga shu, 1979, p. 16, no. 15
Kendall H. Brown, Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints, 2003, p. 288, no. 15
Shimada City Museum, Kawase Hasui, The Landscape Woodblock Prints of the Taisho and Showa Periods, 2005, p. 26, no. 15
Kawase Hasui Woodblock Prints, Abe Publishing, 2009, p. 14, no. 9
Chiba City Museum of Art, Kawase Hasui, NHK Service Center, 2013, p. 27, no. 14
Carolyn M. Putney, et. al., Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 2013, p. 113, no. 48
Kendall H. Brown, Water and Shadow: Kawase Hasui and Japanese Landscape Prints, 2014, #IV.15
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 69.1219
(inv. no. C-3111)
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