Benkeibashi Bridge, Akasaka

125,00

Kasamatsu Shiro – Benkeibashi Bridge, Akasaka

Original woodblock print. The first edition of this design was published in 1953. The current print was printed in the Reiwa period (2019 – present).

Kasamatsu Shiro’s woodblock print “The Benkeibashi Bridge in Akasaka” is a very successful composition, remaining desired to this day. It shares an approach by Kasamatsu Shiro that is used by only a few woodblock artists, where he heavily emphasizes one color and its close variants in a design. A famous example is the Kasamatsu Shiro print “Night Rain at Shinobazu Pond,” visible here in variants from the Heisei period as well as the Showa period. To a lesser extent, “Ueno Toshogu Shrine” follows this approach too.

The theme of the print is less unique to Kasamatsu Shiro, but a popular one among Shin hanga artists. Examples are Toshi Yoshida‘s Benkei Bridge and Tsuchiya Koitsu‘s Benkei Bridge, both completely different in style from the current Kasamatsu Shiro print. Such shared themes among Shin hanga artists were common and requested by publishers, in this case Unsodo, and, ultimately, reflected the interests of customers at the time. Both Japanese audiences and foreigners appreciated prints of famous Japanese places, with the Benkeibashi Bridge in Akasaka being one of the many. Nowadays an overarching highway has been built right behind it, but the bridge can still be visited, and luckily, the immortalized depictions in woodblock prints such as the current one remain completely unaffected.

Variants of this design are known, with different colors used. The current design utilizes mainly green colors.

Image size (excluding margins): 36.3 * 24.0 cm (14.3 * 9.4 in).

The print is in excellent condition.

The pictures shown here are from the print itself.

Kasamatsu Shiro (1898-1991) was a prolific and famous woodblock artist. When only aged thirteen he started as an apprentice. He could trace part of his artistic lineage back via Kaburagi and Yoshitoshi, connecting him to the great Ukiyo-e masters of the 19th century.

He created many prints in the Shin-Hanga style. Many of these depicted traditional themes like landscapes and temples, but within that Shiro displayed great diversity. His prints in the period of 1952-1960 in this style were very successful. This enabled him to experiment and he started working in the Sōsaku-Hanga (creative prints) movement as well, not only designing but also carving and printing himself.

An overview of the woodblock prints by Kasamatsu Shiro can be found here.

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