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Goyo (1880 - 1921)

Woman Holding a Towel

Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: Designed October 1920
Size (H x W): 17 x 10.9 (inches)
Seals: Hashiguchi Goyo (in image), Square Hashiguchi family seal, Round Goyo (on margin), Goyo, GY, Hashiguchi Goyo, Goyo Hanga Kenkyujo (on reverse)
Edition: All impressions of this design are printed posthumously. The key block for this design was printed in Oct 1920, the print was published toward the end of 1921 by the artist's family.
Signature: Goyo ga
Condition: Very good color and impression, light wear on mica in top right corner, silver mica ground, ring embellished with gold.

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The design Woman Holding a Towel was printed in two variants: one with a black kimono, one with a maroon kimono. This portrait depicts the Shinbashi geisha Hisae, whose name can be found  on the towel she delicately moves to her face. The key block was  made in October 1920, the year that 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. Like many of Goyo’s beauties, the beauty wears a gold ring on her left hand.

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.