Hasui 巴水: Watercolor Painting of Lake Towada
Artist: Kawase Hasui 川瀬巴水 (1883-1957)
Title: Watercolor Painting of Lake Towada
Date: Ca. 1930s
Unique watercolor painting titled “Towada ko” and signed Hasui. When compared with the print “Lake Towada” from 1933 (Hotei #293), we see the similarities– the bright autumn foliage that surrounds the base of Senju Cliffs, and the lightly rippling water reflected at the bottom. Hasui’s technique is interesting here, as he created the outlines of the trees and even the reflections in the water in black ink, almost as if he were thinking ahead to a print design. Unlike most watercolors that appear on market, this work seems to be preliminary to a print design, or at least an idea for a print design; most watercolors are more likely done after a print design, assumedly by request, and feel more idealized. This work feels like the result of direct observation, when the artist captured a specific moment in time en plein air. The brushwork, the size and the type of paper indicate to this dealer that the artist was working outside for this work. Hisao Shimizu, the late curator of the Ota City Folk Museum believes that there are three types of watercolors done by Hasui; an original for print design; ones intended for exhibition (signed with “hanga-do”); and by request for collectors who liked his prints. Early works like this that were not based on published prints are very scarce indeed. We can assume that the notation at bottom “11.8.8” is a date that may indicate the eighth day of the eleventh month of Showa 8, 1933. If we interpret the notation as this date, it is not in the year/month/day order, but only the 11th month would make sense for the autumn colors of the foliage.
Dimensions: 33.6 x 23.5 cm
Seal: Artist’s seal Kawase(unusual to see this seal on a painting, rather than a print)