Kawase Hasui was a Japanese printmaker, active in the first half of the 20th century, who created wonderfully subtle and entrancingly beautiful woodblock prints of landscape scenes.
His images were sometimes brimming with light and the brilliant colors of Spring or Autumn at other times almost monochromatic, depicting scenes at night, twilight or in the rain or fog.
He had a fascination with the play of light and shadow, the subtle patterns of dappled sunlight or moonlight, and the strange highlights created by late morning or early evening sun. He also often composed his scenes near water, adding reflections to his fascination with light.
Even though there is no overt similarity, I feel like he has a kinship with the impressionists in his pursuit of the qualities of light and the visual characteristics of the natural world. He sometimes created multiple images of the same scene at different times of the day or in different seasons, much as Monet did.
At times he takes a solid outline filled with color approach that is suggestive of comic book art. At the other end of his stylistic range, his linework is minimal and almost overpowered by the colored inks. He traveled extensively in Japan making watercolor sketches of his subjects and many of his prints have a watercolor feel to them.
The site linked below is to the listing about Hasui on the Hanga Gallery site. The gallery site contains a remarkably complete representation of his work, containing images of almost all of his nearly 600 extant prints, arranged by publisher and year or by series. I’m particularly fond of his work from the 1940′s.
Link via Illustrated Ideas.