Andō Hiroshige
Sudden Evening Shower Over Ōhashi Bridge at Atake
1857, 9th month

Signed: Hiroshige ga; Publisher’s seal: Shitaya Uo’ei (Uoya Eikichi), censor’s seal: aratame; ōban, 36.2 x 25.2 cm; nishiki-e with fukibokashi, kirazuri and musenzuri

Print 58 from “One Hundred Views of Famous Places in Edo”. A fierce evening rainshower is pelting down over the Sumida River, which is spanned by the wooden Ōhashi Bridge. Through a process of gradated shading (fukibokashi), the steel blue sky grows black towards the top. The streaks of rain were printed in grey and black using two different printing blocks. The unquestionable masterpiece of the cycle, this is the second edition of the woodblock print that Vincent van Gogh copied in 1887.

Roger Baldwin Bent (Sotheby’s, February 1968)
Riese Collection #174

Ōhashi, or “The Large Bridge” spanned the Sumida River south of Ryōgoku between the Ayame or Iris Bank of Hamachō and the Rokkenbori section of Fukugawa. The area in the distance concealed by the downpour is the Atake district.

This impression, although clear and fresh, is neither among the earliest nor among the latest of this celebrated design. The latest impressions have a dark opaque sky and the lines of rain are broken and coarsely printed. The earliest impressions on the other hand, have brown shading on the near side of the bridge, dark blue shading on the river where the far side of the bridge meets the left border, a three-colour cartouche in yellow, green and red, and clouds at the top printed not in an even band, but in swirls, reaching in places, the lower edge of the collared cartouche. This impression has a desirable lightness to it, however, and the sky, bank and distant water are particularly beautiful.