Goyo Hashiguchi, Woman Applying Make-up, Shin Hanga


Artist: Goyo Hashiguchi (1880-1921)
Title: Woman Applying Make-up
Date: Originally published 1918
Dimensions: 39.4 x 53.5 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

Holding a decorated mirror, a young lady leisurely applies oshiroi makeup. Diluted with water, she layers the white makeup on her upper body with a fine brush. Combined with the silver mica background, gold mica powder coats her ring and the design of her mirror to luxurious effect. The daisies on her draped kimono are embossed, whilst her skin is left unprinted, standing in relief against the peachy coloured pigment of her lips and shadows. The incorporation of shading in the woodblock print medium would have undoubtedly given the design a rather modern feel for Goyo's contemporaries.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Goyo Hashiguchi
Title Woman Applying Make-up
Subject Beauty & Female, Modern/Shin-Hanga
Dimensions 39.4 x 53.5 cm

Goyo Hashiguchi

Goyo Hashiguchi, a painter and printmaker, was one of the key artists of Shin Hanga (New Print) movement. In the process of his research, he contested the concept of the art school, which had begun around the late Meiji era, it was believed that the originality of woodblock prints would be best brought out by artists themselves undertaking all the production process (i.e. designing, carving and printing). The publisher Watanabe Shozaburo advocated the Shin Hanga movement, which was supported the advantage of the traditional division of labours between the artist, the carver and the printer. Watanabe published Goyo’s "Woman in Bath" as the first production of his venture. Without the use of shading and using only defined lines, Goyo masterfully depicted a woman's voluptuous body and a graceful charm. From the piece, we are able to witness how the master of carving and printing displayed their ample great ability under Goyo's supervision. Goyo published polychrome woodblock prints typified by "Woman Applying Make-up" and was renowned as "Utamaro of the Taisho era". Meanwhile he also exerted himself to the project of Ukiyo-e masterpiece reproductions in order to popularise Ukiyo-e. In 1920, although Goyo completed ten prints including "A Woman Combing her Hair" he died suddenly the following year at the age of 41. Despite a small number of his works (only thirteen O-ban size prints), with its elegance and a great deal of subtlety, his pictures of Beauty have made Goyo highly appraised as one of the best Taisho artists in both Japan and overseas.