Light in the Evening – Minakami


Kasamatsu Shiro – Light in the Evening – Minakami

Original woodblock print. The first edition of this design was published in 1958. The current print was printed in the Reiwa period (2019 – present).

The town depicted here by Kasamatsu Shiro is Minakami, with the main title of the print being “Light in the Evening”. The town is shown in winter with snow covering the mountains in the distance, the houses, trees and street. Due to evening time, what remains uncovered by snow is darkly colored, leading to an almost monochrome scene. As always, snow serves as a seemingly omnipresent lightsource, and the scene is much lighter than would be expected from an evening scene. If space was not a consideration, perhaps its title might not just have been “Light in the Evening”, as it seems clear that Kasamatsu Shiro was not just investigating light at dusk, but also evening light in a snowy landscape.

Contrast to the black and white world is provided by the warm, yellow light radiating out of the windows of the buildings on the right. Minakami is known for its hotsprings and one can imagine the attraction the warmth of the buildings would exert on someone, perhaps Kasamatsu Shiro at one point, standing outside in the cold, with the beauty of the last light of the evening soon to be gone completely.

Image size (excluding margins): 36.5 * 24.0 cm (14.4 * 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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