Hashiguchi Goyo was one of the greatest artists to take part in an art movement in Japanese print-making that thrived between about 1910 and 1960. Termed shin hanga, meaning new prints the movement took the traditional Edo period art of ukiyo-e to a new level. Where ukiyo-e popularized printmaking and art to a wider audience, shin hanga updated this by incorporating Western elements and techniques.
The shin hanga movement did not blindly imitate Western art styles, but rather concentrated on applying new elements to traditional subjects, in Hashiguchi’s case, beautiful women. Just as the European Impressionists incorporated Japanese elements, or japonisme into their work, shin hanga artists were inspired by the Impressionists. They particularly admired the effects of light and the expression of atmosphere. The result was a technically superb and compelling new style of Japanese prints.
The movement was originated not by an artist, but by a publisher, Watanabe Shozaburu, who hired artists to create these prints targeting the U.S. and Western markets. His good business sense paid off, and the prints were immediately a hit with this audience. But the Japanese themselves soon appreciated the beauty and modern appeal of shin hanga.
Hashiguchi was known for the technical mastery of his carving, and for his lavish printing process, often using fine mica for his backgrounds. He was a stickler for quality, and printed his own works rather than working with a publisher to ensure his high standards. Because of this, his prints were published only in very small editions, and they were much more expensive than other shin hanga prints of the time. This banner features a detail of one such print, Woman at Toilette from 1918.
With a smooth, oval face and pale, white skin, the woman in the print epitomizes the Japanese ideal of beauty. The fine carving of details such as her hair are clearly seen in this large-scale reproduction of the work. Other elements such as her patterned garment and hand mirror show similar skill. Below the image is a deep purple band with white text that simply reads “Great Art”. The banner was designed to span a street lamp post, so hanging two banners side-by-side would create a large, complete image. The other side of the banner completes the image, showing a continuation of the front image. This is framed in a deep purple band with the museum’s website in white letters “www.lacma.org”.
These banners were displayed around Los Angeles to promote “Great Art” in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Other banners in the series feature works by John Singer Sargent, Frans Hals, and Amedeo Modigliani.
Trained at a young age as a painter by his father, Hashiguchi (1880-1921), did not work as an printmaker until well into his adult life. He left his hometown of Kagoshima to study Western painting at the Tokyo Institute of Fine Arts, graduating in 1905. From then on, he called himself Goyo, but worked more as a scholar and critic than an artist. At the age of 35, he created his first print which clearly showed his skill as a printmaker. Unfortunately, he was of frail health, and only created 14 prints during his lifetime, dying at the age of just forty-one. His prints are among the most beautiful, rare, and sought-after of modern Japanese shin hangaprints, integrating Western elements into traditional Japanese woodblock prints.
Exhibition: Great Art at LACMA
Material: Printed 2-ply vinyl
Dimensions: 35" x 96"
(88.9cm x 243.8cm)
Hanging your banner
Hanging your banner is easy – just put a few screws in the wall or ceiling and PRESTO, you’re ready to display your beautiful banner. To make it even easier, each BetterWall banner comes with a free hanging system that gives the impression that your banner is floating just an inch off the wall. Your 2-ply museum banners is constructed with two layers of vinyl stitched and glued together. One side of the banner will hang more smoothly than the other due to this layered construction – this is considered the front of the banner.
Caring for your banner
Your banner is a unique and durable piece of art. Having been displayed outside, it has weathered the elements and remained beautiful—so it can obviously take a lot of wear and tear! Slight scuffs, small smudges, or minor creases are not noticeable when the banner is hung, and are a part of the banner’s authentic appeal.
Storing your banner
When not on display, your banner can be rolled and stored in the tube provided. Always roll your banner from the bottom up with the front facing the outside of the roll and place it in a cool place.