Goyo Hashiguchi, Sanjo Bridge in Kyoto, Shin Hanga


Artist: Goyo Hashiguchi (1880-1921)
Title: Sanjo Bridge in Kyoto
Publisher: Self published
Date: 1920
Dimensions: 48.5 x 30.5 cm

Original Jpaanese woodblock print.

The Kamo River in Kyoto shimmers pristinely in its snow swept landscape. Rendered in Prussian blue, the river is all the more pristine against its white surroundings. Pedestrians crossing the bridge and passing the banks dot the scene with their snow-capped parasols. Goyo's setting and execution of this design of Sanjo Bridge undoubtedly refer back to the great landscape artist Utagawa Hiroshige I and his successors. Sanjo was known as the last stop along the newly pathed roads that joined the once old capital of Kyoto to that of Edo (now modern-day Tokyo). The Tokaido and Nakasendo gave rise to opportunities for travel, having a major effect on the arts and literature.

Paying homage to the ukiyo-e landscape genre, Goyo uses bokashi, a printing technique of pigment gradation often used to signify the time of day. However, Goyo still implements a modern twist by way of the city's own modernisation and the naturalistic reflections in the water, usually omitted from the works of earlier masters or used consciously as Western 'exoticism'.

Goyo Hashiguchi (1880 - 1921)

In the genre of Japanese Art, Goyo Hashiguchi was a painter and printmaker and one of the key artists of the beginning of the 20th century in Japan. Born in Kagoshima, he received an early influence in the arts from his father who dabbled in painting. It is believed that at the age of fourteen Goyo studied locally with the Kano painter Uchiyama Ikkan (1823-97). In 1899, he moved to Tokyo where he studied nihonga and yoga styles of painting. In 1904 he began to receive commissions for illustrations, lithographs and woodblock printed covers particularly from literary and art magazines. Some of his works appeared on book covers by popular writers of the day such as Natsume Soseki and Tanizaki Jun’ichiro. In 1911 he won a poster competition for the prestigious Mitsukoshi department store with a design of a young woman dressed in kimono with a fashionable contemporary pattern and sporting an up-to-date hairstyle. From then onwards, Goyo became more interested in traditional ukiyo-e forms from the Edo period with admiration for artists such as Hiroshige I Utagawa, Suzuki Harunobu and Kitagawa Utamaro.

In 1915, urged by the shin-hanga publisher Watanabe Shozaburo, he designed a print for artisans to produce under Watanabe’s direction. ‘Woman at Her Bath’ became an iconic design. Without the use of shading and using only defined lines, Goyo masterfully depicted a woman's body and graceful charm. After deepening his understanding of the production process of woodblock prints, he decided to self-publish his own designs. His craftmanship was of extremely high standard from the paper he chose to the lush pigments applied. He also drew from live models, capturing women and their gestures in a pensive, almost meditative state.

His body of work only amounts to a handful of woodblock prints, as the artist met his untimely death at 41 years old following a sudden illness. Despite this, with their elegance and a great deal of subtlety, his pictures of beauties have made Goyo highly appraised as one of the best Taisho artists in both Japan and overseas.

More Information
Print FormatOther
ArtistGoyo Hashiguchi (1880 - 1921)
SubjectLandscapes, Modern/Shin-Hanga
Size48.5 x 30.5 cm
Condition ReportSmall tear on upper margin. Some restored tears. Faint discolouration around borders due to the previous mounting.
publisherSelf Published:1000-3000