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Hashiguchi Goyo

Bathing Room by Kiyonaga

Bathing Room by Kiyonaga

Standing Lady Hashira by Toyokuni I

Standing Lady Hashira by Toyokuni I

In 1915, urged by the shin-hanga publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō, he designed a print for artisans to produce under Watanabe’s direction. Goyō designed "Bathing" (Yuami), Watanabe wanted to continue the collaboration but Goyō had other plans. Instead, he worked in 1916-1917 as supervisor of reproductions for 12 volumes called "Japanese Color Prints" (Yamato nishiki-e) and in the process became thoroughly familiar with the functions of artisan carvers and printers. At the same time he was drawing from live models. From 1918 until his death he personally supervised the carving, printing, and publication of his own works. From 1918 until his death he produced thirteen more prints – four landscapes, one nature print depicting ducks and eight prints of women. His total production, including "Bathing", numbers fourteen prints. (After his death a few more of his designs were developed into prints by his heirs.)In late 1920, Hashiguchi's latent health problems escalated into meningitis. He supervised his last print "Hot Spring Hotel" from his death bed, but could not finish it personally. He died on February 1921 at the age of 41.Goyō had left several sketches from which his elder brother and his nephew had later produced seven more prints. The carving and printing had been commissioned to Maeda Kentarō and Hirai Koichi.Goyō Hashiguchi prints are of extremely high quality standards. They were sold at very high prices at the time of their first publication and sold well nevertheless. The tragedy of Hashiguchi was the short time span of only two years to produce these superb masterworks - apart from his first print published with Watanabe.The blocks for the fourteen prints and many of the prints themselves were destroyed in the Great Kantō earthquake of 1923. However, Goyō reprints are currently on the market. Most reprints are marked with a small seal in the side margin, something which does not appear on original prints. Many years after Goyō's death, his brother used Goyō's remaining designs as the basis for ten more prints. These were published with the same standards as the earlier prints and in limited numbers. The printing was supervised by Goyō's nephew, Hashiguchi Yasuo. Today, works by Goyō are among the most highly prized of all shin-hanga prints.

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