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Artist: Hashiguchi Goyō (橋口五葉)

Alternate names:
Hashiguchi Kyoshi (family name - 橋口清)

Lifetime: 1880 - 1921

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Biography:

This next section is taken from a site entitled: Hashiguchi Goyo (1880-1921): "Modernizing Utamaro".

"Goyō was an independent shin hanga artist, acting as his own block publisher (hanmoto) and supervising all aspects of his print production based on his original drawings. He was trained initially as a painter in the Kanō-school manner and then later in the western-style oil painting at the Tokyo Art School, where he graduated in 1905. Goyō had a long-standing and serious interest in traditional Japanese printmaking (ukiyo-e) years before he designed his first woodblock print. As early as 1911 he had already begun studying, collecting, and writing about ukiyo-e. In 1914-15 Goyō published a series of three articles for Bijutsu shinpō ("Art News"): Hiroshige no hanga ("Woodblock prints of Hiroshige"), Nishiki-e no zenki ("The most productive period of brocade prints"), and Utamaro no e ni tsuite ("On the pictures of Utamaro"). For several more years he continued with such scholarship, writing more about Hiroshige, adding a study on Harunobu, and contributing various sections on ukiyo-e for the twelve-volume series Ukiyo fūzoku nishiki-e ("Floating world manners and brocade prints"). He was producing large numbers of sketches as well as more finished drawings, and in 1916-17 he supervised woodblock printed reproductions of ukiyo-e, which refined his knowledge of the craft of printmaking. This expertise would be evident in his own original and superbly made prints.

Goyō's first original print was produced in October 1915 in collaboration with the great shin hanga publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō — it would be Goyō's only work supervised by Watanabe, although one other print, a landscape depicting Mount Ibuki issued in January 1920, was distributed by Watanabe in 100 impressions to an art collector's club. His second print, a landscape with figures titled "Rain at Yabakei," was issued in March 1918. The design shown above left was Goyō's second bijinga print, produced independently and made under his direct supervision in April 1918 (the carving was done by Takano Shichinosuke and Koike Masazō, the printing at least partly by Maeda Kentarō). It is untitled, but is known variously under such descriptive labels as "Woman applying powder" or "Woman making up." The craftsmanship is superb, with beautifully selected and printed colors, metallic overprinting on the mirror case and ring, mica overlaid on the background, embossing of the flowers , delicate highlights on the skin, and gradation printing on the robe patterned with what are called kanoko ('fawn spots," one of the most popular Edo-period motifs used in shaped-resist textile dyeing called shibori). It is also a large design, measuring about the size of a traditional double-ōban single sheet (50 x 37 cm). Goyō's beauty has been considered by many critics to epitomize the modern woman of the Taishō period (1912-1926). So where do we find Utamaro in Goyō's design?"

This information is quoted directly from John Fiorillo's web site: Viewing Japanese Prints.

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"In the beautiful women genre, the master was Goyō (1880-1921) who broke with Watanabe after a single print to form his own production studio. Goyō's elegant his own production studio. Goyō's elegant images of women images of women exemplified by Nagajuban... define a modern classicism, combining European academic drawing of the figures with a late eighteenth century ukiyo-e sensibility evident in the bold silhouettes, crisp textile patterns, elegant color harmonies and mica backgrounds. Goyō's surpassing skill and sure aesthetic vision earned him the nickname “Utamaro of the Taisho period”." [The choice of bold type is ours.]

Quoted from: Color Woodcut International: Japan, Britain, and America in the Early Twentieth Century, edited by Christine Javid, Chazen Museum of Art, 2006, p. 22.

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Frank Lloyd Wright designed the poster for the Hashiguchi Goyō memorial exhibition in Tokyo in 1921. The original drawing for that poster is now in the collection of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.