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“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 colour woodblock print, from 1920’s Japan. The artist, Goyo’s had a late call to the traditional woodblock print after a career of illustration in other media. He was inspired by the old techniques and admiration for the great portraits of beautiful women by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 – 1806).

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. The exceptional wood cutting of the black blocks to portray the intricacies of women’s hair was an Ukiyo-e tradition which Goyo has enthusiastically revived. To ensure a significant impact he also restricted his palette to a few colours. Hashiguchi had a short time span of only two years to produce these superb masterworks, apart from his first print published with Watanabe before he died aged forty-two.

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.

Goyo Hashiguchi

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
  • Culture:               Japanese
  • Writing:               Japanese
  • Material:             Woodblock print on paper
  • Dimensions:       H: 41.5 cm (16.3 in); W: 28.3 cm (11.1 in)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

Goyō Hashiguchi

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“There are no short cuts to any place worth going.” Japanese Proverb

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