Hagiwara Hideo (萩原英雄 1913-2007) was a preeminent Japanese artist during the second half of the twentieth century who introduced inventive techniques and customized tools into the art of the Japanese woodblock print. He was born in Kôfu City, Yamanashi prefecture and moved to Korea with his family in 1921. In 1929 returned on his own to Japan, where he entered second middle school of Nihon University and began studying oil painting with Usaburô Mimino (1891-1974). After graduating in 1932, he enrolled in the art department of the vocational school Bunka Gakuin (文化学院) and began exhibiting oil paintings. In 1933, he entered the Tokyo Bijutsu Gakkô (東京美術学校), now called the Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku (Tokyo University of the Arts: 京藝術大学), for further study in oil painting. By 1934 he was studying with the early sôsaku hanga artist Minamu Kunzô (南薫造 1883-1950). He also attended the extracurricular woodblock printing course taught by Hiratsuka Un'ichi. After graduating from Tokyo Bijutsu Gakkô in 1938, he worked as a quality controller of recut facsimile woodblock prints in the planning department of the Takamizawa Mokuhan Company (高見沢木版本社) where he cultivated his knowledge of ukiyo-e prints.
In his signature works Hagiwara achieved a sensual and richly evocative quality by printing on the back of the paper, allowing bleed-through to serve as a "ground" to enrich the image on the front. He said that his goal was to achieve depth (referring to it as "a sense of deep space," ukabuka to shita kûkan o satoru, 深々とした空間を覚). He found that the subdued colors bleeding from the back established an atmosphere or mood that he could then work with when applying colors on the front side of the print. To do this, he experimented with double-sided printing (ryômen-zuri, 両面刷り), developing the idea after working at the Takamizawa company where he became fascinated with the colors showing through on the reverse sides of ukiyo-e prints. He claimed this was new to printmaking. Hagiwara did not seem to acknowledge Munakata Shikô's related technique of reverse-side coloring as an influence, probably because the older artist painted (brushed on) colors on the back of many of his prints, doing so after printing the front sides, adding colors to particular areas or shapes on the front. So Hagiwara's technique was indeed different, as the backs were printed first and entirely covered with pigments, while the front-side work was done afterwards. This required working from dark to light on the front, which did not apply to Munakata. In some works Hagiwara used a metal coil to rub on the back, creating baren-like swirls.
For more about this artist, see Hagiwara Hideo at John Fiorillo's website.
The portfolio titled Gendai meika sôsaku hanga shû (produced 1957-1959) was published in 1960 and featured works dated variously from 1957 to 1959. There were 10 artists, one print each in editions of 100. The printmakers were Azechi Umetarô (1902-1999), Izumi Shigeru (1922-1995), Komai Tetsuo (1920-1976), Nakao Yoshitaka (1911-1994), Hagiwara Hideo (1913-2007), Maekawa Senpan (1888-1960), Maeda Maso (1904-1974), Miyashita Tokio (1930–2011), Yamaguchi Gen (1896-1976), and Tagawa Suiô (act. c. 1950s). The cover of the folder (465 x 340 mm) included a translation reading "Collections of Japan's Modern and Famed Print Art." Each print came with a bi-lingual tissue-thin identification sheet placed over the art work that included the print title and a very brief listing of exhibitions and art society memberships for each respective artist (see detail photo at right).
"Tropical fish" was Hagiwara's contribution to the 1957-1959 portfolio. He used a restricted, soft palette and fairly abstracted shapes to populate the pictorial space and evoke images of sea-life. Appropriately, all the forms seem to float, in part due to the addition of about 20 small curves and undulating lines across the field of view. For another example of a print from this portfolio, see the 1959 work by Azechi Umetarô.
Hagiwara's prints are in various leading museums, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Institute of Chicago; British Museum, London; Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY; Cincinnati Art Museum; Honolulu Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Museum of Art & History, Geneva; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Museum of Modern Art, San Paulo, Brazil; Museum of Modern Art, Toyama; Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama; National Gallery of Art, Scotland; National Museum of Art, Osaka; National Museum of Art, Tokyo; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Portland Museum of Art; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; Victoria & Albert Museum; and Vienna National Museum of Art
References: Hagiwara's works have been discussed and illustrated in many Western publications, among them:
- Blakemore, Frances: Who's Who in Modern Japanese Prints. New York and Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1975, pp. 153-155.
- Christie's New York: The Helen and Felix Juda Collection of Japanese Modern and Contemporary Prints (auction catalog]. New York, April 22, 1998, lots 330-346.
- Clark, Tim: 100 Views of Mount Fuji. London: British Museum Press, 2001, pp. 67-68.
- Hagiwara, Hideo: Hideo Hagiwara (萩原英雄), from the series Nihon gendai hanga (Modern Japanese print artists: 近現代版画). Tokyo: Reifû Shobô (冷風書房), 1992.
- Jenkins, Donald: Images of a Changing World: Japanese Prints of the Twentieth Century. Portland Art Museum, 1983, pp. 121-122.
- Johnson, Margaret and Hilton, Dale: Japanese Prints Today: Tradition with Innovation. Tokyo: Shufunotomo Co., 1980, pp.36, 80-91
- Kawakita, Michiaki: Contemporary Japanese Prints (Nihon gendai hanga: 日本現代版画). Tokyo: Kodansha, 1967, pp. 40-41.
- Petit, Gaston: 44 Modern Japanese Print Artists. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1973; vol. 2, pp. 174-181, nos. C78-C80, 235-240; and descriptive list of plates, pp. 112-119; descriptions of plates pp. 14-15.
- Petit, Gaston and Arboleda, Amadio: Evolving Techniques in Japanese Woodblock Prints. Tokyo/New York: Kodansha, 1977, pp. 57, 75, 90, 102, 128, nos. 30, 75, 145, 146.