Through the Darkness: The Nightscapes of Saitō Kiyoshi and Kawase Hasui

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    Kawase Hasui (1883–1957). 'Starlit Night' (detail), Miyajima Japan, Shōwa period (1926–1989), 1928. Woodblock print; ink and color on paper. Gift of James A. Michener, 1984 (19203).

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    Kawase Hasui (1883–1957). 'Kōzu' (detail), Osaka Japan, Taishō period (1912–1926), 1924. Woodblock print; ink and color on paper. Gift of Eliza Lefferts and Charles Montague Cooke, Jr. 1941 (11788).

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    Saitō Kiyoshi (1907–1997). 'Jakko-in, Kyoto'. Japan, Shōwa period (1926–1989), 1963. Woodblock print; ink and color on paper. Gift of Riki Saitō, 2002 (27124).

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November 21, 2014 - January 10, 2015
Honolulu Museum of Art

Exhibition Overview

The artists Saitō Kiyoshi (1907–1997) and Kawase Hasui (1883–1957) are often described as representing the ideological extremes of 20th-century Japanese printmaking. While Kiyoshi is associated with the creative print (sōsaku hanga) movement and its modernist approach to printmaking, Hasui is seen as an advocate of the new print (shin hanga) movement, which sought to preserve the traditional, workshop-based approach of art-making, as practiced throughout the Edo period (1615–1868).

Despite the artists’ aesthetic differences, the curious theme of nocturnes pervades both oeuvres. Through the Darkness explores the underlying tension between the two artists: the common subject matter to which they gravitated and the profoundly different ways in which they expressed that imagery. Supplementing this discussion of modern printmaking are works by ceramic artist Shimaoka Tatsuzo (1919–2007), who worked in the folk craft (mingei) tradition.