Goyo (1880 - 1921)


Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: 1918
Size (H x W): 16 x 20.25 (inches)
Seals: Round Goyo seal, Tobin seal, Carver: Takano Shichinosuke, Printer: Somekawa Kanzo
Provenance: Tobin Collection, Garib Collection
Signature: Goyo ga
Condition: Very good color and impression, small losses in top corners, faint mat mark, embellished with mica in the rain.

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Set against a backdrop of misty mountains, farmers guide a horse-drawn cart down a winding path in Goyo Hashiguchi's Yabakei. While the background is somber and shadowed, the foreground is dotted with blues and greens, the rain sparkling through the use of finely-printed mica. This design was completed during Goyo's lifetime. The blocks for Yabakei were carved by Shichinosuke Takano and printed by Kanzo Somekawa (with the assistance of Hisamatsu Kubodera).

About the artist

Goyo Hashiguchi (born Kiyoshi Hashiguchi) was born in Kagoshima to Kanemitsu Hashiguchi, a Shijo-style painter. Goyo Hashiguchi began his career in Kano painting at age 10, moving to Tokyo in 1899 to study with the leading painter Gaho Hashimoto. He soon shifted to Western-style painting under the tutelage of Seiki Kuroda at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, where he graduated at the top of his class in 1905. Shortly thereafter, the prominent Shin Hanga publisher Shozaburo Watanabe convinced him to try his hand at woodblock printmaking. Watanabe published Goyo’s first woodblock print, Nude After Bathing in 1915. Goyo’s sensitive portrayal of women in a delicate, serene and infinitely graceful mode led to his immediate popularity.


Unlike many Shin Hanga print artists, Goyo Hashiguchi established his own workshop. His standards were so high that he rarely allowed his editions to run more than eighty prints. This decision resulted in some of the most technically superb woodblock prints to be produced since the late 18th century. On February 24, 1921, Goyo died from an ear infection, the aftermath of a severe case of influenza. Goyo’s entire artistic career spanned 15 short years, of which only the last five were spent producing prints. He completed a total of 14 prints. At his death, many of Goyo's works were left in various stages of completion. Members of his family completed these designs following his death.