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 color 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
Goyo Hashiguchi (né Kiyoshi Hashiguchi) was born in Kagoshima to Kanemitsu Hashiguchi, a Shijo-style painter. Goyo 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 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 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 artists, Goyo 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, Goyo left many works in various stages of completion. Members of his family completed these designs following his death.