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Circus No. 5

Circus No. 7

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Circus No. 5

by Hagiwara Hideo, 1968

Circus No. 7

IHL Cat. #1030

About This Print

Print 5 in the Hagiwara's Circus series of prints created in 1968.  He followed this series with the series Clowns in 1969 and the circus has been a recurring theme in the artist's work, as can be seen below.  

Wall Card from the Exhibition Three Masters of Abstraction
Hagiwara Hideo, Ida Shōichi and Takahashi Rikio
November 3, 2018 - March 24, 2019

Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR 97205

萩原英雄 サーカス No. 5

Hagiwara Hideo (1913–2007)

Circus No. 5


Color woodblock print with mica on paper 
Lent by Irwin Lavenberg, L2017.103.5

Hagiwara explored a wide range of themes, from the uniquely Japanese, such as the samurai and Mount Fuji, to the international world of the circus. Here the form of the clown is easily identifiable, as is his billowing costume.

Known for using multiple printing techniques, including the use of traditional and non-traditional barens for transferring images to paper from a carved woodblock, this print employs woodblock combined with etching techniques derived from the intaglio process.  Donald Jenkins notes that in another work in this series, "Clown No. 8," "Hagiwara has combined traditional woodblock techniques with a form of woodcut intaglio, which he invented, which creates lines that resemble those found in etching or drypoint."1  "Hagiwara achieves this effect by scratching lines into his woodblocks with large sharpened nails or spikes.  He inks the blocks with water-base colors, then gently wipes the color off the surface as in intaglio plate printmaking, and, with full baren (rubbing pad) pressure on the back side of the paper, lifts sufficient color from the lines to create what we see." A subtle dusting of ground mica highlights the colors. 

The Artist's Circus and Clown Works

In November 2008 the Kichijoji Art Museum in the Musashino, Tama area of Tokyo, opened the third installment of a retrospective exhibition series on Hideo Hagiwara, which presented around twenty of the artist's works taking "circus" as their main theme.3 

大サーカス (Three-ring Circus), 1972
oil painting, 130.3 × 162.0cm

Circus and Clown Woodblocks (a sampling)

Circus, 1959
woodblock with mica
48.3 x 33.1 cm (19 x 13 1/16 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 63.272
Circus, 1967

Circus No. 1, 1968

Circus No. 2, 1968
Circus No. 6, 1968

Circus No. 7
Circus No. 7, 1968
IHL Cat. #182

Clown No. 5
Clown No. 5, 1969
IHL Caat. #387

Clown No. 3, 1969

Clown No. 8, 1969

1 Images of a Changing World, Japanese Prints of the Twentieth Century, Donald Jenkins, Portland Art Museum, 1983, p. 122.
2 Ibid; p. 121.
3 Tokyo Art Beat website http://www.tokyoartbeat.com/event/2008/23E8

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1030
 Title or Description サーカス No. 5 Circus No. 5 [as inscribed on print]
Saakasu No. 5, Circus No. 5]
 Series Circus and Clown
 Hagiwara Hideo (1913 - 2007)
 pencil signed by artist in English – Hideo Hagiwara in lower left margin
 Publication Date 1968
 Edition 38 of 50
 Publisher self-published
 Carver self-carved
 Printer self-printed
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent -  a minor mat line in lower left portion of margin; some folding to paper along margin edges
 Genre sosaku hanga (creative print)
 H x W Paper 12 1/2 x 14 7/8 in. (31.8 x 37.8 cm)
 H x W Image 8 7/8 x 11 1/4 in. (22.5 x 28.6 cm)
 Collections This Print Santa Barbara Museum of Art 1991.146.16
 Reference Literature
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