This edition is a reproduction of Hokusai’s Gaifū kaisei [Fine Wind, Clear Weather]; not only has the print been made in modern times, but the block prints are not originals. This is evident primarily because of the carving of the pine trees at the base of mountain, which is achieved in a decidedly Western manner. The foliage found in the original print is rendered in almost a stippled fashion; the same small triangular forms repeat and overlap to form the blanket of trees. In contrast, this reproduction creates a texture of trees with areas of light and dark, neither of which are uniform as in the original. The shapes of the trees are much more attenuated than the original. Other details in the print, such as the strength of the black outline of the mountain or the pattern of snow on the summit, vary from the original. A white “flaw” is found in the bottom-right corner of all originals; its absence here further substantiates its identification as a modern reproduction.
The manner in which the piece was printed also reveals that it is a reproduction. There are four different ways in which the original prints were colored. At times Fuji appears a pale pink, not red. In another version, the mountain is colored blue. However, in none of them is diagonal bokashi gradation—from red to yellow to green—found on the mountain. Likewise, the blue-to-white bokashi of the clouds near the bottom-left corner of the work is not consistent with original prints. Rather, the color of the clouds themselves varied from white to a light blue. The blue colors used in this print are worth noting, as they appear to be shades of different colors of blue. During the time in which Hokusai was designing this series, however, bero “Berlin Blue” (commonly known in the West as Prussian Blue) was almost exclusively used in landscape prints. Additionally, the green found in the lower part of this print is much brighter and contains more yellow than the forest green of the original editions.
Finally, the paper of this print is much thicker than Edo period prints. It also does not have a noticeable grain, unlike those used for making ukiyo-e, which had a horizontal grain.
Although rare, Mt. Fuji can be dyed red by the rising sun on a in the late summer or early autumn morning. Such a red Fuji has been documented being witnessed at Lake Yamanaka, which is near Mt. Fuji. One requirement for this effect to occur is a mackerel sky filled with long strips of clouds. The presence of these clouds in the piece indicates that Hokusai may have witnessed the scene personally, although it is not rendered from life. The clouds are rendered in a Western style, most likely based on Dutch copperplate engravings. This print is only one of two in the Fugaku sanjūrokkei [Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji] series in which the mountain dominates the scene. The mountain is not as steep as suggested by Hokusai, but it is exaggerated to powerful effect in this piece.
-Leah Justin-Jinich, Summer 2014