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Nakamiya Temple by Kasamatsu, Shiro

Nakamiya Temple by Kasamatsu, Shiro

Regular price $825.00 USD
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A lovely woodblock print from the Shin Hanga, later Sosaku Hanga, master -- titled, dated, signed, and numbered 19/20 in pencil on the bottom margin. This is an image of the venerated Kannon at Nakayama-dera Temple headquarters of the Shingon sect of Buddhism.

Age: 1961
Media: Woodblock Print
Size: 16 x 11 1/4 inches
Condition: Very good -- faint mat marks on border edges

Kasamatsu, Shiro (1898 -1991)

Born in the Asakusa section of Tokyo to a middle class family, Shiro Kasamatsu started his art studies at a young age. In 1911 he became a student of Kaburagi Kiyokata, a master of the bijin-ga genre. Shiro studied Japanese style painting (Nihonga) but unlike his teacher, he concentrated on landscapes. Shiro's paintings were shown at several prestigious exhibitions including the government sponsored Bunten, where they caught the eye of Watanabe Shozaburo, the Tokyo publisher who was to revive ukiyo-e under the shin hanga movement. In 1919, Watanabe approached Shiro about designing woodblock prints. Shiro's first print, A Windy Day in Early Summer, was published in that same year. He designed several landscape prints over the next few years, but the blocks for these were lost in the 1923 Kanto earthquake and consequently they are quite rare. Shiro resumed his work with Watanabe in the 1930's. His designs were mainly of landscapes, but also included bijin-ga, interiors, and Noh masks (one of his particular interests). Western collectors were especially attracted to his romantic landscapes depicting traditional Japanese life and landmarks. Shinobazu Pond, published in 1932, was so popular that it was continually reprinted throughout the 1930's and 1940's. In 1939, Shiro designed the series Eight Views of Tokyo, but only four prints were completed. After World War II, he stopped working with Watanabe and established a short collaboration with Unsodo, a publisher in Kyoto, designing landscape and animal prints. By the late 1950's, Shiro was ready to break out on his own. He began carving and printing his own designs in limited, numbered editions. He signed these prints himself in English. Some of his Watanabe-published prints also bear English signatures; however, these signatures were applied by Watanabe's employees, not by the artist himself. Shiro continued to create prints for several decades, but never promoted them through exhibitions or gallery affiliations.
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