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Goyō Hashiguchi – Japanese Woodblock Artist – Ukiyo-e

Hashiguchi Goyo - Woman in Blue Combing Her Hair - Walters 95880

“Woman in Blue Combing Her Hair” by Goyō Hashiguchi

Goyō Hashiguchi (1880 – 1921) was an artist in Japan who’s perfectionism led to him publishing only a handful of prints, each one technically excellent with a nostalgic passion for the art form.

The exceptional wood cutting of the blocks to portray the intricacies of women’s hair was a Ukiyo-e tradition that Goyo had enthusiastically revived. The prints’ impact was enhanced by his restricted palette of a few primary colors.

A Virtual Tour of Goyō Hashiguchi’s Art

  • Woman in Blue Combing Her Hair
  • Geisha Hisae with a Towel
  • Woman Applying Color to Her Lips
  • Woman Powdering Her Neck
  • Hotspring Hotel – Onsen yado
  • Waitress with a Red Tray
  • Woman after the Bath – Yokujo no Onna
  • Woman Dressing in a Long Undergarment
  • Woman Folding Kimono
  • Woman in a Summer Kimono
  • Woman Washing Her Face

“Woman in Blue Combing Her Hair” by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Woman in Blue Combing Her Hair” by Goyō Hashiguchi is a color woodblock print, from 1920’s Japan. Goyo had a late calling to traditional Japanese Woodblock Printing after a career of illustration in other media.

Goyō Hashiguchi was inspired by the old techniques and admiration for the great portraits of beautiful women by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 – 1806).

Woman in Blue Combing Her Hair

  • Title:                    Woman in Blue Combing Her Hair
  • Artist:                  Goyō Hashiguchi
  • Material:             Woodblock print on paper
  • Dimensions:       H: 44.6 cm (17.5 in); W: 32.7 cm (12.8 in)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

“Geisha Hisae with a Towel” by Goyō Hashiguchi

Hashiguchi Goyo - Geisha Hisae with a Towel

“Geisha Hisae with a Towel” by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Geisha Hisae with a Towel” by Goyō Hashiguchi is a color woodblock print. Goyō Hashiguchi’s perfectionism led to his publishing only a handful of prints, each one technically excellent with a nostalgic passion for the art of the period. His great influence was the Japanese artist Kitagawa Utamaro.

Kitagawa Utamaro

Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 – 1806) was a Japanese artist who is one of the most highly regarded designers of ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings. He is best known for his pictures of beautiful women of the 1790s. He rose to prominence in the early 1790s with his portraits of women with exaggerated, elongated features. He produced over 2,000 prints and was one of the few ukiyo-e artists to achieve fame throughout Japan in his lifetime.

Utamaro’s work reached Europe in the mid-nineteenth century, where it was viral, enjoying particular acclaim in France. He influenced the European Impressionists, particularly with his use of partial views and his emphasis on light and shade, which they imitated. The reference to the “Japanese influence” among these artists often refers to the work of Utamaro.

Geisha Hisae with a Towel

  • Title:                    Geisha Hisae with a Towel
  • Artist:                  Goyō Hashiguchi
  • Published:          1920
  • Material:             Woodblock print on paper
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

“Woman Applying Color to Her Lips” by Goyō Hashiguchi

Hashiguchi Goyo - Woman Applying Color to Her Lips - Walters 95879

“Woman Applying Color to Her Lips” by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Woman Applying Color to Her Lips” by Goyō Hashiguchi is a color woodblock print, from 1920’s Japan. To ensure a significant impact, he also restricted his palette to a few colors.

His blocks for fourteen prints and many of the prints were destroyed in the Great Kantō earthquake of 1923. Most reprints are marked with a small seal in the side margin, something which does not appear on original prints. Today works by Goyō are among the most highly prized of all Shin-Hanga prints.

Shin-Hanga

Shin-Hanga was an art movement in early 20th-century Japan that revitalized traditional woodblock prints and paintings rooted from Japan’s 17th to 19th-century artworks. The movement flourished from around 1915 to 1942 and resumed briefly from 1946 through the 1950s. Inspired by European Impressionism, the artists incorporated Western elements such as the effects of light but focused on strictly traditional themes of landscapes, famous sites, beautiful women, kabuki actors, birds, and flowers.

Ukiyo-e woodblock prints were central to forming the West’s perception of Japanese art in the late 19th century. Japanese art became a prominent trend and had a strong influence on the early Impressionists such as Degas, Manet, and Monet, as well as Post-Impressionists such as van Gogh and Art Nouveau artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec. The 20th century saw a revival in the Japanese printmaking genre capitalizing on the Western interest in prints of traditional Japanese scenes, and the sōsaku-hanga movement promoted individualist works designed, carved, and printed by a single artist.

Woman Applying Color to Her Lips

  • Title:                    Woman Applying Color to Her Lips
  • Alternative:        Portrait of Chiyo, a Maiko of Gion, Kyoto
  • Artist:                  Goyō Hashiguchi
  • Published:          1920
  • Material:             Woodblock print on paper
  • Dimensions:       H: 41.5 cm (16.3 in); W: 28.3 cm (11.1 in)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

“Woman Powdering Her Neck” by Goyō Hashiguchi

"Woman Powdering Her Neck" by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Woman Powdering Her Neck” by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Woman Powdering Her Neck” by Goyō Hashiguchi is a color woodblock print, from 1920’s Japan. The artist, Goyo, had a late calling to the traditional woodblock print after a career of illustration in other media.

Goyō Hashiguchi

Goyō Hashiguchi (1880 – 1921) was a Japanese artist, whose father, Hashiguchi Kanemizu, was a samurai and amateur painter in the Shijō style. His father hired a teacher for him in the Kano style of painting when Kiyoshi was only ten. Kiyoshi attended the Tokyo School of Fine Arts and graduated best in his class in 1905.

He then became a serious student of ukiyo-e. He was especially interested in the great classical ukiyo-e artists and wrote several articles about Utamaro, Hiroshige, and Harunobu. In 1915, urged by the shin-hanga publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō, he designed a print for artisans to produce under Watanabe’s direction. In 1916-1917 as supervisor of reproductions for 12 volumes called “Japanese Color Prints” and in the process became thoroughly familiar with the functions of artisan carvers and printers.

From 1918 until his death, he supervised the carving, printing, and publication of his works. He produced thirteen more prints, four landscapes, one nature print, and eight prints of women. After his death, a few more of his designs were developed into prints by his heirs.

Woman Powdering Her Neck

  • Title:               Woman Powdering Her Neck
  • Artist:              Goyō Hashiguchi
  • Published:       1918
  • Material:         Woodblock print on paper
  • Dimensions:    Height: 54.6 cm (21.4 in); Width: 39 cm (15.3 in)
  • Museum:         Walters Art Museum

“Hotspring Hotel” – “Onsen yado” by Goyō Hashiguchi

Hashiguchi Goyo - Onsen yado (Hotspring Hotel) - Walters 95884

“Hotspring Hotel” – “Onsen yado” by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Hotspring Hotel” – “Onsen yado” by Goyō Hashiguchi is a color woodblock print, from 1920’s Japan. Goyo had a late call to the traditional woodblock print after a career of illustration in other media. The extraordinary beauty and technical excellence have made his prints among the most sought-after Japanese prints.

Hotspring Hotel – Onsen yado

  • Title:                    Hotspring Hotel – Onsen yado
  • Artist:                  Goyō Hashiguchi
  • Published:          1920
  • Material:             Woodblock print on paper (full color)
  • Dimensions:      H: 44.9 cm (17.6 in); W: 26.8 cm (10.5 in)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

“Waitress with a Red Tray” by Goyō Hashiguchi

"Waitress with a Red Tray" by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Waitress with a Red Tray” by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Waitress with a Red Tray” by Goyō Hashiguchi is a color woodblock print, from 1920’s Japan. Goyo Hashiguchi was a samurai and a Shijo-style painter who was a perfectionist and who set up his own workshop a few years before his death. His standards were so high that most of his editions ran to no more than eighty prints. Goyo died having completed only 14 prints (13 plus one published by Watanabe), later members of Goyo’s family brought some of his unfinished works to completion.

Woodblock printing in Japan

Woodblock printing in Japan is a genre of Japanese art that flourished from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Prints from the 20th evolved from the earlier movements, especially with the movement’s emphasis on individual expression. Artists such as Goyō Hashiguchi brought more modern sensibilities to images of women

The first woodblock printing dated to around 650 AD when the Chinese began printing on paper using wooden blocks. Woodblock printing was used in China for centuries to print books, long before the invention of movable type in Europe. In Japan, woodblock printing for artworks was widely adopted during the Edo period (1603–1868). Although similar to woodcuts in Western printmaking in some regards, the Japanese technique differed in that it used water-based inks, as opposed to western woodcuts, which often uses oil-based inks. The Japanese water-based inks provide a wide range of vivid colors, glazes, and transparency.

To create a woodblock print, the first step was for an image to drawn onto thin Japanese paper then glued face-down onto a plank of close-grained wood. Oil was then used to make the lines of the image visible. An incision was made along both sides of each line. Wood was then chiseled away, based on the drawing outlines. The block was inked using brushes. A flat hand-held tool was used to press the paper against the inked woodblock to apply the ink to the paper. The first prints were merely a single color, with additional colors applied by hand. The introduction of multiple colors that had to be used with precision over previous ink layers.

Waitress with a Red Tray

  • Title:                    Waitress with a Red Tray
  • Alternative:        Portrait of Onao, a Maid at the Matsuyoshi Inn, Kyoto
  • Japanese:            日本語: 「盆持てる女」
  • Artist:                  Goyō Hashiguchi
  • Published:          1920
  • Material:             Woodblock print on paper
  • Dimensions:      H: 39.9 cm (15.7 in); W: 26.7 cm (10.5 in)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

 

“Woman after the Bath” – Yokujo no Onna by Goyō Hashiguchi

Hashiguchi Goyo - Woman after the Bath (Yokujo no Onna) - Walters 95881

“Woman after the Bath” – Yokujo no Onna by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Woman after the Bath” by Goyō Hashiguchi is a color woodblock print in the Ukiyo-e is a Japanese art form.

Ukiyo-e

Ukiyo-e is a Japanese art form that flourished from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Its artists produced woodblock prints and paintings of such subjects as female beauties; kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers; scenes from history and folk tales; travel scenes and landscapes; flora and fauna. The word ukiyo-e translates as “pictures of the floating world.” The term ukiyo or “floating world” came to describe the hedonistic lifestyle that was available during the late 17th century in Edo, which today is modern Tokyo. Printed or painted ukiyo-e images of this environment emerged and were popular with the merchant class, who had become wealthy enough to afford to decorate their homes with them.

Japanese Art

  • Ukiyo (“floating, fleeting, or transient world”) describes the urban lifestyle, especially the pleasure-seeking aspects, of the Edo-period Japan (1600–1867).
  • Edo is the former name of Tokyo.
  • Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese art which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries
  • Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 – 1806) was a Japanese artist who was one of the most highly regarded designers of ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings.
  • Goyō Hashiguchi (1880 – 1921) was an artist in Japan who was inspired by the old techniques and the portraits of beautiful women by Kitagawa Utamaro.
  • Shin-Hanga (“new woodcut prints”) was an art movement in early 20th-century Japan, that revitalized traditional ukiyo-e art rooted in the Edo and Meiji periods (17th–19th century).
  • In the traditional ukiyo-e collaborative movement, the artist, carver, printer, and publisher engaged in the division of labor and skill.
  • The sōsaku-hanga movement advocated the principles of “self-drawn,” “self-carved,” and “self-printed.” In this tradition, the artist, with the desire of expressing the self, as the sole creator of art.

Woman after the Bath – Yokujo no Onna

  • Title:                    Woman after the Bath – Yokujo no Onna
  • Artist:                  Goyō Hashiguchi
  • Published:          1920
  • Material:             Woodblock print on paper
  • Dimensions:      H: 44.8 cm (17.6 in); W: 30.1 cm (11.8 in)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

“Woman Washing Her Face” by Goyō Hashiguchi

Hashiguchi Goyo - Woman Washing Her Face - Walters 95888

“Woman Washing Her Face” by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Woman Washing Her Face” by Goyō Hashiguchi is a color woodblock print, from 1920’s Japan. Goyo’s extraordinarily beautiful and technical excellent woodblock prints are among the most sought-after Japanese prints.

Woman Washing Her Face

  • Title:                    Woman Washing Her Face
  • Japanese:            日本語: 「顔を洗う女」
  • Artist:                  Goyō Hashiguchi
  • Published:          1920
  • Material:             Woodblock print on paper
  • Dimensions:        H: 55.5 cm (21.8 in); W: 41.5 cm (16.3 in)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

“Woman Dressing in a Long Undergarment” by Goyō Hashiguchi

Hashiguchi Goyo - Woman Dressing in a Long Undergarment - Walters 95877

“Woman Dressing in a Long Undergarment” by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Woman Dressing in a Long Undergarment” by Goyō Hashiguchi is a color woodblock print, from 1920’s Japan. Traditional Japanese woodblock prints that influenced Goyō Hashiguchi also influenced French Impressionists and artists such as Vincent van Gogh.

Vincent van Gogh and Japanese Art

Vincent van Gogh began his deep interest in Japanese prints when he discovered magazine illustrations of artwork created by woodblock prints using Japanese techniques that depicted Japanese life. In 1885, van Gogh started collecting ukiyo-e prints that could be bought in small Parisian shops. Van Gogh shared these prints with his contemporaries and organized a Japanese print exhibition in Paris in 1887. One version of Van Gogh’s Portrait of Pere Tanguy (1887) featured a backdrop of Japanese prints. He was inspired by Japanese woodblock prints and, in his works, the vibrancy of color and light that he observed in Japanese woodblock prints.

Woman Dressing in a Long Undergarment

  • Title:                    Woman Dressing in a Long Undergarment
  • Japanese:            日本語: 「長襦袢を着たる女」、木版画
  • Artist:                  Goyō Hashiguchi
  • Published:          1920
  • Material:             Woodblock print on paper
  • Dimensions:       H: 49.8 cm (19.6 in); W: 14.4 cm (5.6 in)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

“Woman Folding Kimono” by Goyō Hashiguchi

Hashiguchi Goyo - Woman Folding Kimono

“Woman Folding Kimono” by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Woman Folding Kimono” by Goyō Hashiguchi is a color woodblock print, from 1920’s Japan. The kimono is a traditional Japanese garment.

Kimono

During the Edo period (1603–1867 AD), the basic shape of the current Kimono developed for both the men’s and women’s kimono, and it has remained virtually unchanged. Kimonos, made with exceptional skill from excellent materials, are regarded as great works of art.

Today, Kimonos are often worn for essential festivals and formal occasions as formal clothing. Kimonos are generally worn with traditional footwear and split-toe socks. Some older women and men still wear kimono daily. Men wear the kimono most often at weddings, tea ceremonies, and other formal occasions. Professional sumo wrestlers are often seen in the kimono because they are required to wear traditional Japanese dress whenever appearing in public.

Woman Folding Kimono

  • Title:                    Woman Folding Kimono
  • Japanese:            日本語: 「着物をたたむ女」
  • Artist:                  Goyō Hashiguchi
  • Published:          1920
  • Material:             Woodblock print on paper
  • Dimensions:      H: 45 cm (17.7 in); W: 32 cm (12.5 in)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

“Woman in a Summer Kimono” by Goyō Hashiguchi

"Woman in a Summer Kimono" by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Woman in a Summer Kimono” by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Woman in a Summer Kimono” by Goyō Hashiguchi is a color woodblock print, from 1920’s Japan. Woodblock printing is a technique for printing images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia. The method originated in China in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and later paper. Woodblock printing existed during the 7th century A.D. and remained the most common East Asian method of printing books and images, until the 19th century. Ukiyo-e is the best-known type of Japanese woodblock art print.

Woodblock Printing

Before the invention of woodblock printing, seals and stamps were used for making impressions. The oldest of these seals came from Mesopotamia and Egypt. The use of round “cylinder seals” for rolling an impress onto clay tablets goes back to early Mesopotamian civilization before 3000 BC. A few larger brick stamps for marking clay bricks survive from Akkad from around 2270 BC. However, none of these used ink, which is necessary for printing.

The earliest woodblock color printing known is Chinese silk from 206 BC–220 AD printed in three colors. Color is prevalent in Asian woodblock printing on paper. The earliest dated printed book with more than two colors is a book printed in 1606, and the technique reached its height in books on art published in the first half of the 17th century. In Japan, a multi-color method spread more widely and was used for prints from the 1760s on.

In Japan, woodblock printing came to define the national aesthetic. These techniques became important to Japanese artists, and printed images became among the most celebrated famous works. The aesthetics of modern-day manga and anime are directly descended from woodblock prints.

Woman in a Summer Kimono

  • Title:                  Woman in a Summer Kimono
  • Artist:                Goyō Hashiguchi
  • Published:         1920
  • Material:             Woodblock print on paper
  • Dimensions:       H: 45.2 cm (17.7 in); W: 29.8 cm (11.7 in)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

Goyō Hashiguchi

Goyō Hashiguchi

  • Artist:                    Goyō Hashiguchi (né Kiyoshi Hashiguchi)
  • Japanese:              橋口 五葉
  • Born:                     1880 – Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
  • Died:                      1921 – Japan
  • Nationality:          Japanese
  • Notable Works:
    • Woman in Blue Combing Her Hair
    • Geisha Hisae with a Towel
    • Woman Applying Color to Her Lips
    • Woman Powdering Her Neck
    • Hotspring Hotel – Onsen yado
    • Waitress with a Red Tray
    • Woman after the Bath – Yokujo no Onna
    • Woman Dressing in a Long Undergarment
    • Woman Folding Kimono
    • Woman in a Summer Kimono
    • Woman Washing Her Face

Ukiyo-e Overview

Japanese Poetry

~~~

“I come weary,
In search of an inn—
Ah! these wisteria flowers!”

– by Matsuo Basho, 1688

~~~

“‘Tis the first snow—
Just enough to bend
The gladiolus leaves!”

– by Matsuo Basho, 1686

~~~

“An ancient pond!
With a sound from the water
Of the frog as it plunges in.”

– by Matsuo Basho, 1681

~~~

“‘Twas the new moon!
Since then I waited—
And lo! to-night!”

– by Matsuo Basho, 1681

~~~

“The cry of the cicada
Gives us a sign
That presently it will die.”

– by Matsuo Basho, 1690

~~~

A Tour of Artists and their Art

Japanese woodblock printing History Ukiyo-e

Japanese Idioms, Quotes, and Proverbs

~~~

“Wake from death and return to life.”

~~~

“Pulling water to my rice paddy.”

~~~

“An apprentice near a temple will recite the scriptures untaught.”

~~~

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.”

~~~

“Evil cause, evil effect.”

~~~

“Ten men, ten colors.”

~~~

“An apprentice near a temple will recite the scriptures untaught.”

~~~

“One’s act, one’s profit.”

~~~

“One life, one encounter.”

~~

“The weak are meat; the strong eat.”

~~~

“Ocean thousand mountain thousand.”

~~~

“Beautiful person, thin life.”

~~~

“If you do not enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub.”

~~~

“Gold coins to a cat.”

~~~

“A frog in a well does not know the great sea.”

~~~

“Dumplings rather than flowers.”

~~~

“Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

~~~

“One who chases after two hares won’t catch even one.”

~~~

“A frog in a well does not know the great sea.”

~~~

“Take a loss, make a gain.”

~~~

“Pulling water to my own rice paddy.”

~~~

“The weak are meat; the strong eat.”

~~~

“Ocean thousand mountain thousand.”

~~~

“Different body, same mind.”

~~~

“One life, one encounter.”

~~~

“Mixed with red ink, anything turns red.”

~~~

“If you do not enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub.”

~~~

“Teaching Buddhism to the Buddha.”

~~~

“Work of self, obtainment of self.”

~~~

“Child of a frog is a frog.”

~~~

“Even monkeys fall from trees.”

~~~

“Not knowing is Buddha.”

~~~

“Spilt water will not return to the tray.”

~~~

“An undisturbed God wreaks no vengeance.”

~~~

“Gold coins to a cat.” “Evil cause, evil effect.”

~~~

“Too much of something is the same as not enough.”

~~~

“Unless an idiot dies, he won’t be cured.”

~~~

“Giving birth to a baby is easier than worrying about it.”
– Japanese Proverb

~~~

Ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints)

~~~

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
– Japanese Proverb

~~~


Photo Credit: 1) Goyō Hashiguchi [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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