Hashiguchi Goyo, Woman Holding a Tray

detail Hashiguchi Goyo, Woman Holding a Tray

Hashiguchi Goyo, 1880-1921

Woman Holding a Tray

a portrait of the waitress Onao holding a red lacquer tray while seated against a dark grey mica ground, privately published, dated and signed, Taisho kyunen ichigatsu (Taisho 9 [1920], January), Goyo ga, with circular artist's seal Goyo

dai oban tate-e 15 7/8 by 10 5/8 in., 40.2 by 26.9 cm

All of Goyo's self-published prints adhered to a classical ukiyo-e aesthetic, without the modern stylizations (such as baren swirls) favored by Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962), most notably, all of the bijin (beauty) subjects are printed with expensive mica backgrounds. This was actually a technical feat at the time- the use of all mica backgrounds was nearly a lost art. Before Watanabe attempted it in 1917 on a Shinsui print titled Haru ('Spring') with problematic results, the last time mica background had been used on a full-sized print was over 100 years earlier. Goyo and the printers he worked with in his studio appear to have solved the problem with his bijin-ga; this is the only example where he chose a dark mica background.

The model for this print, the waitress Onao from the Matsuyoshi Inn in Kyoto, posed for Goyo during a visit in late 1919.

References:
Kato Junzo, comp., Kindai Nihon hanga taikei, 1975-76, Vol. I, pl. 93
Amy Reigle Stephens, gen. ed., The New wave: Twentieth-Century Japanese prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection, 1993, p. 128, pl. 130
Arnaud D'Hauterives, La nouvelle vague: L'estampe Japonaise de 1868-1939 dans la Collection Robert O. Muller, Musée Marmottan, Institute de France, Académie des Beaux-Arts, 1994, p. 48, pl. 79
Amy Reigle Newland and Hamanaka Shinji, The Female Image: 20th Century Prints of Japanese Beauties, 2000, p. 41, pl. 14
Amanda T. Zehnder, Modern Japanese Prints: The Twentieth Century, Carnegie Museum of Art, 2009, p. 36
Carolyn M. Putney, et. al., Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 2013, p. 79, cat. 3
Andreas Marks, Seven Masters: 20th century Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Wells Collection, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2015, p. 59, no. 24

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