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Woman with Hand Towel

Woman with Hand Towel
by Goyo Hashiguchi (1880-1921)

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Artist: Goyo Hashiguchi (1880-1921) 橋口五葉
Title: Woman with Hand Towel
Date of first edition?1920/10
Date of this artwork?c. 1970s/80s (may not be accurate)
Publisher (first edition)?Hashiguchi Goyo
Publisher (this edition)?Tanseisha 丹青社
Medium (first edition): Woodblock
Medium (this edition): Woodblock
Format (first edition): Large Oban
Format (this edition): Oban
DB artwork code: 32517
Notes (first edition)?
The key block of Woman Holding a Towel was reportedly made in October 1920, the soon before Goyo died. On his death bed Goyo asked Kikumaro Fujiki to oversee the publishing of this print. It was printed in two colour schemes by Kanzo Somekawa before the end of 1921. Unique to most of Goyo’s beauties, Woman Holding a Towel wears a gold ring on her left hand. The color of the robe and the detail in the butterflies varies between the two prints. The presence of mica gives the black robe a radiant sense. The printer was Kanzo Somekawa. Goyo seal on reverse for first editions.
Notes (this edition)?
The following information was taken from the original web listing of this artwork. Note that there may be some inaccuracies:

Woman with Hand Towel, 1920 (fine 1970’s woodblock reprint)
Hashigushi Goyo (1880 - 1921)

Woman with Hand Towel- In this lovely print, a young beauty holds a hand towel to her face. The creamy white skin of her face contrasts the rest of the image with the rich gray/silver mica background, and deep colorful kimono and towel.

This Goyo reprint- In the 1970’s a small group of woodblock reprints were made of Goyo’s incredible images. His prints are so rare and sought after, these prints offered an opportunity to have a Goyo print without the expense of an original. These prints of Goyo’s works are the only woodblock reprints ever produced of his prints and are very hard to come by.

This print comes with both original folders. It is in the original heavy rag presentation inner folder which fits inside a titled outer folder. See photo with inner folder.

The early shin-hanga artists sought a middle ground and attempted to portray the modern woman in the context of traditional beauty and values. The qualities associated with traditional femininity are fused with the contemporary style of art and fashion.

These earliest of the shin-hanga prints portray a woman who is unquestionably feminine in appearance and manner. She is beautiful, refined, passive and sensual. This dreamy mood of the shin-hanga beauties evolved from the ukiyo-e bijin print.

Goyo the 20th century master- In 1911 Goyo became interested in ukiyo-e prints and specifically the work of Utamaro. Goyo has been referred to as the “Taisho Utamaro” which seems entirely appropriate. Just as Utamaro created the most compelling prints of the Kansei era (1789 – 1800), Goyo arguably did the same in Taisho.

Goyo’s untimely death at 41 in 1921 was a great loss to the world of modern Japanese prints. He left a handful of superbly produced Japanese prints that are great treasures of 20th century Japanese art.

Signed- Goyo-ga with red artist’s seal
Sealed- In blue in margin by publisher, carver and printer
Image size- 5 1/4” x 18 1/2” (same as original- large print)
Condition- Perfect, no toning, tears, not mounted, full margins

Artist Bio: 
A Note on the 1970's/80's restrikes:

Tanseisha edition:

One of the 12-print sets, titled "Hashiguchi Goyo 60-Year Memorial) was published in an edition size of only 150 and is dated 1981, December 1st. I assume this to be the first edition by Tanseisha. It is obvious that Tanseisha subsequently published other sets after this date, using different printers. One of these later editions included an extra print, so a 13-print edition.

Yuyudo editions:

A 6-print set of bijin-ga in blue canvas tatou album with edition size of 750.

A 12-print edition, size unconfirmed.

A 2-print set of large-size scenes "Hand Mirror" and "Yabakei" with edition size of around 500.

Iwasaki Shoten:

Published "Woman Combing Her Hair" in an edition size of 180 in 1988, October 20 (see database entry 46012).

Watanabe Shoichiro: Watanabe has recently (2017 or earlier) started publishing some of the Goyo scenes.

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Site copyright: Dr Ross F. Walker. Copyright of the displayed artwork: the original owner. The information contained on this website is provided as an educational resource to scholars and collectors of Japanese art. JAODB would like to thank the caretakers of these art items for their contribution to this database. The items displayed here are not being offered for sale. Unless otherwise indicated the displayed item is not in the ownership of JAODB or Ross Walker.