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Woman and Billboard (untitled)

Noguchi Kōgai (active c. 1920s-1930s)

Japanese Color Lithograph and/or Photo Offset Print

Woman and Billboard (untitled)

by Noguchi Kōgai, c. 1914-1921

Noguchi Kōgai (active c. 1920s-1930s)

IHL Cat. #1631

About This Print

AA print appearing in an unknown magazine, possibly as an illustration to a story. In the period c. 1914-1921 (dubbed by Kendall Brown as the "golden age of bijin kuchi'e reproduced by lithographic and photo-offset printing)1, when this print was likely created, thousands of illustrations by well-known and little-known artists appeared in mass market popular culture magazines such as Bungei kurabu 文芸俱楽部 (Literary Club, 1895-1933) and Kōdan kurabo 講談倶楽部 (Storytelling Club, 1911-1962), and magazines specifically targeted at women such as Fujokai (Women's World, 1910-1943, 1948-1950, 1952)Jogaku sekai 女学世界 (The World of Women's Learning, 1901-1925) and Shufunotomo 主婦之友 (Housewife's Friend, 1917-2008).2  By around 1915, most of the illustrations were reproduced by lithography and/or photo-offset printing (distinctive half-tone dot patterns are visible in all areas or portions of the print) rather than woodblock.

In describing the typical themes for many of the stories that appeared in the popular women's magazines, Julia Meech-Pekarik tells us that "The stories these prints illustrate typically center on a series of incredibly fragile and beautiful women from good families who confront personal tragedy with pride and fortitude. Some are driven to avenge the death of a family member, while others commit suicide rather than compromise themselves in love."3

Dangerous Beauties and Dutiful Wives: Popular Portraits of Women in Japan, 1905-1925, Kendall Brown, Dover Publications, Inc., 2011, p. xvii.
2 Women's Magazines and the Democratization of Print and Reading Culture in Interwar Japan, by Shiho Maeshima, University of British Columbia, August 2016, p. 213-214. [A Doctoral Thesis which may be found online at https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/24/items/1.0314161]
3 The World of the Meiji Print: Impressions of a New Civilization, Julia Meech-Pekarik, Weatherhill, 1986, p. 217.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1631
 Title or Description Woman and Billboard (untitled)
 notation on verso with name of artist 野口紅厓 on left and unread characters, possibly title of the print, in the right column.
 Magazine unknown
 Noguchi Kōgai (active c. 1920s-1930s)
紅厓 Kōgai
 Seal unread seal (see above)
 Publication Date c. 1914-1921
 Publisher unknown
 Printer unknown
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre bijin kuchi-e
 H x W Paper 9 1/2 x 5 5/16 in. (24.1 x 13.5 cm)
 Collections This Print 
 Reference Literature