Woman Applying Makeup

Artist: Hashiguchi Goyō 橋口五葉 (1880-1921)
Historical period(s)
Taisho era, April 1918
Woodblock print; ink, color, gold and mica on paper
H x W (image): 51.5 x 36.3 cm (20 1/4 x 14 5/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of H. Ed Robison in memory of Ulrike Pietzner-Robison
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

Japan, Taisho era (1912 - 1926), woman
Provenance research underway.

This striking image of a woman applying powder to her shoulder was the first figure print for which Goyo was both artist and publisher. By assuming both roles, which were traditionally separate, Goyo controlled every detail of color selection, block cutting, and printing. In this image, he sought to achieve the extraordinary quality of the prints of Utamaro (1753-1806), whose work he researched for an article published in 1915.

The elegance of the model and the graceful drape of her loosely wrapped garment are enhanced by the pearly finish of mica powder printed on the background, a demanding technique characteristic of the finest Japanese prints. Although he faithfully reproduced the artistic quality and the subject matter of eighteenth-century Japanese prints, Goyo's sensitive rendering of volume through line and pattern displays his mastery of European techniques of drawing and painting. The model herself reveals her modernity by wearing a ring, an accessory of clearly foreign origin.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura. Beyond the Brush: Japanese Prints, Paper Works and Photographs. vol. XLIII no. 3. p. 33, fig. 5.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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