1920s Kawase Hasui Woodblock Print

Value (2003) | $2,500 Auction$2,800 Auction

I brought a Japanese woodblock print. I think I've had it about 15 years... maybe 17 years.

It's hung in your home the whole time?

Yes, it hangs in my living room.

Great. Well, you're absolutely right. It is a Japanese woodblock print and it's by one of the two most famous Japanese artists for landscapes of the 20th century-- Kawase Hasui. And he signed the print right here at the lower right-hand side: Kawase Hasui. And this is his seal -- the circular, round seal -- which is put on the print by the publisher. This is carved in block. And it's a very important print because it's a snow scene, and Kawase was known as the artist of snow. And this is an early piece by Kawase Hasui and it has the early publisher's seal. On this side of the margin is the seal from Watanabe, who's a very famous publisher in Tokyo. He's still in business today, a third generation. Now, this is important, because there have been some posthumous prints done by the publisher of his prints, done after 1957. 1957 is the year in which he died. And that's the seal that proves that this print is from the 1920s. It's the "A" seal-- Watanabe "A" seal-- which is from that period. He was famous for the snow scenes. This is one of his most famous vertical snow scenes. And how much did you pay for this print?

I think I paid $200.

And did you purchase it locally?

I purchased it in an art gallery, uh, in Chicago.

In Chicago. Do you have any idea what this might be worth today?

Not really. I-- I'm imagining it's certainly worth more than $200.

More than that? The good thing that's happened recently is the fact the Catalogue Raisonne -- the complete catalogue of Hasui's work -- has come out and it's in a collector's hands and as a result there's renewed interest in his work. He's always been a very popular artist and we find a ready market for his work, but now because of the catalog, people now are beginning to look at his work and say, "Gee, can you find these for me?" and so forth. So it will continue to increase. A piece like this in this condition with the early seal would be in the neighborhood of $2,500 to $2,800 U.S.


That would be at auction.

I wouldn't have thought... I wouldn't have dreamt it was worth that. Hangs in our living room. It's been there for 15 years.

Well, I'm glad you're enjoying it because it's a wonderful piece.

Appraisal Details

Castle Fine Arts, Inc.
Del Mar, CA
Appraised value (2003)
$2,500 Auction$2,800 Auction
Chicago, IL (July 26, 2003)
Asian Arts

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