Goyo Hashiguchi (1880-1921)

Young Woman in a Summer Kimono

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Goyo Hashiguchi (1880-1921)
Young Woman in a Summer Kimono
Woodblock Print
August A1920
11.31" x 20.8"
Goyo ga

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About the art

The standing figure in the center is the focal point of this colorful print.  She is dressed in a dark blue floor length kimono with pink flowers.  She holds her obi as it drapes down onto the floor and she examines the portion in her hands.  The large flowers on the obi echoes the pattern on her kimono, creating an uncomfortable contrast. Her posture ever so slightly leans back as her feet are tilted towards each other.  Her eyes gaze slightly down bringing attention to the right side of the print where the wall is patterned in a deep purple and a lamp hangs above her head. 

This print was printed after Goyo died, but the key block and color blocks were done during Goyo's lifetime


Sealed reverse:  Goyo

About the artist

Japanese artist Goyo Hashiguchi (né Kiyoshi Hashiguchi) was born in Kagoshima to Kanemitsu Hashiguchi, a samurai and a Shijo-style painter. It is said that the five-needle pine (goyo no matsu) in his father’s garden inspired Goyo’s artist name. He began his career in Kano painting at age 10, moving to Tokyo in 1899 to study with the leading Kano painter Gaho Hashimoto. He soon shifted to Western-style painting under Seiki Kuroda at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, graduating at the top of his class in 1905. Shortly thereafter, the prominent Tokyo woodblock print publisher Watanabe convinced him to become a Japanese woodblock artist. Watanabe published Goyo’s first woodblock print, Nude After Bathing in 1915. His sensitive portrayal of women in a delicate, serene and infinitely graceful mode led to his immediate popularity. This mastery of line and composition is equally apparent in his tender drawings. These drawings are extremely scarce.


Goyo Hashiguchi, an active perfectionist, was not satisfied with Watanabe’s workmanship and consequently set up his own workshop. As a Japanese woodblock artist, 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. His death at so early an age was a tragedy to the art world. Goyo’s entire artistic career spanned 15 short years, of which only the last five were as a Japanese woodblock artist. He completed only 14 prints. At his death, Goyo left many works in various stages of completion. Some were all but finished, with full-color proofs already completed; for others, the key block impressions had been taken, and still others had barely progressed beyond the preliminary sketches. Members of Goyo’s family brought these unfinished materials to fruition.

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