When Watanabe Shozaburo coined the term shin hanga
in the early 20th century to describe the woodblock prints he was marketing, traditional Japanese woodblock prints were losing popularity in the domestic Japanese market. But Watanabe, who started his career working for an exporter, knew that foreign demand was strong for depictions of romanticized Japanese life and landscapes. So rather than try to sell the art that was being produced, Watanabe started a business producing the art that he knew would sell.
In our Important Spring Auction
, we are offering 17 lots of woodblock prints by Hasui Kawase, most of which were published by Watanabe. Hasui was one of the most prolific and respected artists with whom Watanabe had a lifelong partnership, revitalizing the Japanese woodblock print as an important national art form.