For the past few months I’ve been nurturing a desire to create one or more pieces of art in the ukiyo-e style, not bona fide woodblock prints—I don’t have the materials or the experience—but something that imitates the general look of such things. Other commitments have so far prevented my attempting anything but I keep browsing the work of the print-makers with an eye on the future. Hasui Kawase is very useful in this respect since he was one of the first Japanese artists to combine traditional subjects and print-making techniques with a graphic style influenced by Western art. The views and compositions are often familiar ones but there’s a greater sense of pictorial realism, especially in the treatment of light and shade which is exceptionally skilful. I especially like his nocturnes. Kawase was a very prolific artist so there’s a lot to see, Ukiyo-e.org has over 3,000 of his prints on file. Many of these will be duplicates but that’s still a lot of work.
This is a necessarily limited selection from the collection of Kawase prints at Wikimedia Commons. The quality of his work is so good you could easily make several posts like this one. For those who’d like to see more, two high-resolution print collections, here and here, are a good place to start.
Continue reading “The art of Hasui Kawase, 1883–1957”
Dawn at Futamigaura (c. 1832) by Kunisada.
Meoto Iwa, or the Married Couple Rocks, are two rocky stacks in the sea off Futami, Mie, Japan. They are joined by a shimenawa (a heavy rope of rice straw) and are considered sacred by worshippers at the neighboring Futami Okitama Shrine (Futami Okitama Jinja). According to Shinto, the rocks represent the union of the creator of kami, Izanagi and Izanami. The rocks, therefore, celebrate the union in marriage of man and woman. The rope, which weighs 40 kilograms, must be replaced several times a year in a special ceremony. The larger rock, said to be male, has a small torii at its peak.
At dawn during the summer, the sun appears to rise between the two rocks. Mount Fuji is visible in the distance. At low tide, the rocks are not separated by water. (more)
A Company of Pilgrims from Yedo Outside a Tea House on the Hills Behind the Beach of Futami Admiring the View (c. 1795) by Katsukawa Shunzan.
Women Worshiping the Rising Sun between the Twin Rocks at Ise (c. 1803–04) by Kitagawa Utamaro.
Futamigaura (c. 1825) by Shotei Hokuji.
View of Futamigaura from Famous Places in Ise (1847–52) by Hiroshige.
Continue reading “Sixteen views of Meoto Iwa”
The Elephant Celebes (1921) by Max Ernst.
Happy new year. 02021? Read this.
Desert Sunset (1921) by George Elbert Burr.
The Great Tower (1921) by Giorgio de Chirico.
Evening Glow at Yanaka (1921) by Hasui Kawase.
Construction (1921) by Gustavs Klucis.
Three Musicians (1921) by Pablo Picasso.
Illustration by Willy Pogány for The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles (1921) by Padraic Colum.
Sketch of Figural Movement for Dance (1921) by Oskar Schlemmer.
Beautiful night – moon and stars, Miyajima Shrine (1928) by Hasui Kawase.
• One announcement I’d been hoping for since last summer was the news of a second box of Tangerine Dream albums to follow the excellent In Search Of Hades collection. The latter concentrated on the first phase of the group’s Virgin recordings, up to and including Force Majeure. This October will see the release of a new set, Pilots Of Purple Twilight, which explores the rest of the Virgin period when Johannes Schmoelling had joined Froese and Franke. Among the exclusive material will be a proper release of the soundtrack for Michael Mann’s The Keep (previously a scarce limited edition), together with the complete concert from the Dominion Theatre, London. Also out in October, Dark Entries will be releasing a further collection of recordings from the recently discovered tape archive of Patrick Cowley. The new album, Some Funkettes, will comprise unreleased cover versions, one of which, I Feel Love by Donna Summer, is a cult item of mine that Cowley later refashioned into a celebrated megamix.
• “Did you know that Video Killed The Radio Star was inspired by a JG Ballard story?” asks Molly Odintz. No, I didn’t.
• Casey Rae on the strange (musical) world of William S. Burroughs. Previously: Seven Souls Resouled.
• “And now we are no longer slaves”: Scott McCulloch on Pierre Guyotat’s Eden Eden Eden at fifty.
• At Dennis Cooper’s: Frank Jaffe presents…Dario Argento and his world of bright coloured blood.
• At Wormwoodiana: The Serpent Calls. Mark Valentine on a mysterious musical instrument.
• At Spoon & Tamago: Long-Exposure Photographs of Torii Shrine Gates by Ronny Behnert.
• Mix of the week: mr.K’s Soundstripe vol 4 by radioShirley & mr.K.
• Rising sons: the radical photography of postwar Japan.
• The illicit 1980s nudes of Christopher Makos.
• RIP Diana Rigg.
• Garden Of Eden (1971) by New Riders Of The Purple Sage | Ice Floes In Eden (1986) by Harold Budd | Eden (1988) by Talk Talk
Autumn Moon At Ishiyama Temple (c. 1834) by Hiroshige.
The moon is a continual feature in Japanese landscape prints, and the following selection is only a small sample of the many beautiful examples that may be found on this print site. See also this site, and Yoshitoshi’s stunning series, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon.
Rising Moon at Nagase (no date) Artist unknown.
Rising Moon at Katase River (1907) by Shiron Kasamatsu.
Continue reading “Japanese moons”