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Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints [Hardcover]

Kendall Brown , Watanabe Shoichiro , Amy Reigle Newland

RRP: 234.97
Price: 232.42 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) is considered the foremost Japanese landscape print artist of the 20th century. His work is characterized by a fascination with light, climatic conditions and tranquility. His oeuvre consists of over 700 designs of which the largest proportion was produced for the initiator of the Shin hanga ('new print') movement, Watanabe Shozaburo. Originally published in 2003, this groundbreaking publication on the life and work of Kawase Hasui is now available with a DVD, which includes a 1950s film on the artist and the production of one of his designs, a process book displaying all stages in the creation of a Japanese woodblock print, and designs which have been discovered since 2003.

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"These attractively slipcased volumes, formatted to enable the user to view the plate while reading the pertinent commentary and data, are something that all collectors and admirers of Hasui will want to own." Peter Dailey in Impressions "These two sumptuous volumes must surely be the very last word on the best known of all Shin Hanga print designers, the landscape artist Kawase Hasui (1883-1957). (...) The meticulous scholarship of this catalogue is a fitting tribute to half a century of patient craftmanship and atmospheric scene scetting." Joe Earle in The Art Newspaper

About the Author

Kendall H. Brown is Associate Professor in the Department of Art at California State University, Long Beach, California, where he teaches the art of India, China and Japan. Following his research into sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Japanese painting and publications such as The Politics of Reclusion: Painting and Power in Momoyama Japan (1997), his interests turned to the twenthieth century and to woodblock prints. His publications in this field include Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints (2003), abridged in Visions of Japan: Kawase Hasui's Masterpieces (2004). Counted among his exhibition catalogues are Taisho Chic: Japanese Modernity, Nostalgia and Deco (2002), A Japanese Legacy: Four Generations of Yoshida Family Artists (2002), Between Two Worlds: the Life and Art of Lilian May Miller (1998), Shin hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan (1996) and Light and Darkness: Women in Japanese Prints of Early Showa 1926-1945 (1996). He was also contributor to Art of the Japanese Postcard (2004). He is currently writing a social history of Japanese gardens in North America.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Product Description Is Inaccurate! 20 Oct 2012
By ninjaneer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There is a great amount of confusion regarding this two volume set in regards to publication dates. Yes the original was done in 2003, but a second printing done in 2008 includes a DVD updating missing prints from the 2003 publication and contains a movie made during the 1950's detailing the entire process of producing a woodblock print. Neither the book description or the product detail sections indicate the correct date of publication or mention the inclusion of the DVD.

The problem partly lies with the fact that the ISBN numbers were not changed for the 2008 edition. This was confirmed through email with the publisher. After receiving my order I found the books indicated a 2008 copyright date and included the DVD in volume 2. Additional confusion with the listing is the dust jacket cover image posted by David Held of a moon lighted night scene "Moon at Magome". If I am correct this cover image was used on the original 2003 publication. The 2008 edition that I received used the snow scene "Ochanomizu". These differences might help to identify the year of publication between these editions.

From the standpoint as an amateur collector I find that I long for additional details regarding the specifics of the prints in this reference. This would include paper/image size, number of blocks used, number of printing impressions, and any available notes. These notes may include the status of the original wood blocks as many were likely destroyed from fire during the great Kanto earthquake in 1923. It would also be desirable to know if and when new blocks were cut and used for later editions. Notations of any techniques used to produce visual effects on the image would be welcomed too.
I do appreciate the many references made to websites and other publications for further research in which I might find this kind of detailed information, but I really wanted this publication to be the "go to" reference for Hasui. I realize that this would be very difficult to do considering the magnitude of his work, and the many other carvers, printers, and publishers involved. The lack of detailed records in existence may also contribute to this missing information. However I am assured that this publication will aid the heirs of my collection to understand and appreciate the works of this artist and the painstaking process to produce a quality woodblock print. In the movie Hasui also gives great credit to the carvers and printers, who in my opinion, do not receive the recognition they deserve for their dedication, skill, and contribution to the finished product.

Now if they could only condense the information in volume one to include only English text or Japanese text for two separate language versions into one book with the prints. I would hope that this would reduce the production costs and lower the price of this reference so that it could be more affordable to the many fans of Hasui works.

BEWARE! As an important side note regarding shipment packaging I reported the following information to Amazon after my initial shipment was damaged and after my exchange shipment:

"This two volume reference was not packaged with any kind or form of packing material inside the shipping box. This allowed the 10 lb weight and mass of the volumes to shift around and cause damage to the corners of both the storage box and books. The internal shifting of the contents also caused scrape marks on the exterior surface of the storage box containing both volumes. The shifting of the mass and weight of the contents also took it's toll on the shipping box. The shipping box used was too small to provide adequate space for both the proper amount of packing material (if used) and the contents of the shipment."

I even called customer service to report this problem prior to the replacement shipment to avoid the same issue, but the second shipment arrived in the same manner, but luckily without damage.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Resistance is Futile....." 2 Mar 2012
By Terry B - Published on Amazon.com
Considering this is the only book in the known universe containing almost all woodblock prints by Kawase Hasui I had to give it 5 stars......"Resistance is Futile".
I would like to say that I think this 2 volume set was created mostly with the collector and dealer in mind. Volume 1 is not an art book, it is almost all text(English/Japanese)containing the type of information of which some may not necessarily be of interest, to a general audience. Volume 2 has all the beautiful works in color accompanied only with the title and date. The woodblock images are photographed unmatted showing the margins, and are presented in a variety of sizes in various combinations. The largest single image per page is approximately 9.5"x 6.5". There are also numerous 1/2&1/4 page size images and a small 2.5"x 3.5"-4.0"size that is used often. I would also like to add that there are no across page images so you do not feel compelled to chop the book in half! The 1st printing of this 2 vol. set was in 2003, apparently in 2008 this set was re-released, accompanied with a dvd update.
The 2003 set was expensive right from the start, but if you want all that there is for now, this is pretty much it.
33 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful 5 Jan 2004
By Nidhi Malhotra - Published on Amazon.com
Hasui sings to me, whispers to me. I can feel the drizzle on my skin after looking at his work. Dr Brown captures that and a lot more. He has an expert's eye on a subject so often ignored and more than anything else, I appreciate his decision to publish a much needed volume on hasui. I've had the unique pleasure of taking a class under Dr. Brown and his easy demeanour beats the perception his authority on hasui might create. He brings a similar ease to his book. It talks to the experienced hasui collector, the enthusiastic student or just someone plain curious. His insight, although pretty unchallenged, is still quite enlightening and authoritative due to his empathy with the subject and its background and his experience as such. It was about time someone explored Hasui in words and we are lucky to read it in Dr. brown's words.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shipping Issue 25 Jan 2014
By Bobby - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great 2 volume set. My posting this is a MAJOR complaint with the SHIPPING. This is a book that weighs about 10-15 lbs and costs $300. They just took the book and threw it in an oversized box and shipped it with no cushioning or anything. The book was just banging around in the box. I paid $300 and luckily(?) it only got the corner of the book slightly smashed in. I have ordered $5 books from people and they packaged it with a lot of consideration. Amazon just threw it in a box carelessly and made NO effort to ship it carefully.
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