Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)

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Evening Rain at Karasaki, Karasaki no yau, the finest design from the set: Omi hakkei no uchi, “Eight Views in Omi Province.” The series of eight prints was published by Hoeido and Eikyudo, c. 1834-5. When first published it was advertised as a “work in black and white, lightly coloured, “ and Hiroshige was never to surpass the ethereal quality that these figureless landscapes possess. The theme “Eight Views” was borrowed from Chinese poetry and each print conveys pictorially the poem written in the square label at the top right. Beside it, in a red label, is the series title. The designs for the set are known in various states and there are variations in colouring and gradation. This is particularly relevant to this design and there is dispute as to which is the earliest state. In fact the first printing appears to be the Yan Buhl impression illustrated in Hiroshige, Hotei publishing, 2008, no. 48, p. 54: the kiwame seal on this example is higher than on all other printings ( presuming no remargining, which does not appear to be the case ); the break on the top of the right rigging of the tallest boat, far right, is not evident, and the gradation on the pine is across the top and down towards the bottom right. Many of these great designs seemed to inspire the publishers and/or printers to experiment with different colour schemes and gradation. ( As with the Kuniyoshi Nichiren in snow on this website. ) Later states had gradation completely across top of pine; down left side only; or with gradation from the bottom up, and a green version is also known. The later editions also had the area around the Hoeido seal cleared so that the rain did not intrude. The old pine no longer exists and was replaced with another. One of the finest 19th century landscapes. An almost abstract composition which transcends the usual views of the countryside that the curious Edo public bought and the views of the capital purchased as souvenirs, to reach a completely different aesthetic.

Fine, early impression with the gradation at top of pine and down towards right. Very good colour. Minor restoration, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

Status: Sold

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