The Lavenberg Collection will be housed at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon 

The Circus Comes to Town!

Circus (detail), artist and publisher Hasegawa Sonokichi

This print likely served as an advertisement for the Italian impresario Giuseppe Chiarini's Royal Italian Circus which performed in Japan (including a performance for Emperor Meiji) in the summer of 1886. His troupe included acrobatic young women on horses, as depicted above, and wild animals. Chiariini's circus was not the first to perform in Japan with Richard Risley ("Professor Risley") bringing his circus company in March 1864 and the Frenchman Louis Soullier bringing his circus to Japan in 1871.

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The Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints

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Western Clown Show

Chiarini's Astounding Circus, 1886

Utagawa Kunimasa IV (1848-1920) 

Kawatake Mokuami's kabuki play Narihibiku Chiarini no kyokuba based upon the visit of Giuseppe Chiarini's Royal Italian Circus to Japan in the summer of 1886.  

Street Clown Show

This site is an extension of the primary site for The Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints., with over 2,500 pages of images and information on Japanese prints, is now owned and operated by the University of Oregon.

This site, "More of MyJapaneseHanga," will explore new print artists and new themes related to Japanese prints.

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Final Print

Fuwa Banzaemon (The Unbreakable) from the series Kabuki Jūhachiban, 1916

歌舞伎十八番 不破伴左衛門

by Torii Kiyotada VII 鳥居清忠 (七代目) (1875-1941)


Traditional woodblock printmaking was a "project" brought to fruition by a team consisting of publisher, artist, carver and printer. The publisher was the project leader who commissioned the artist to create a design which was then turned into a print by carvers and printers under the publisher's employ. 

Above, on the left, is the preparatory watercolor painting by the artist Torii Kiyotada used by the carver and printer as a guide for creating the final print, seen on the right. Click on the image to get a close up view of the similarities and differences between the two.

Japanese Woodblock Prints: A Tradition, An Inspiration

Shin-Ōhashi Bridge and Atake, 1857

from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

by Utagawa Hiroshige


And we wouldn’t be able to study Japanese art, it seems to me, without becoming much happier and more cheerful, and it makes us return to nature, despite our education and our work in a world of convention.

- Vincent van Gogh in a letter to Theo van Gogh;

Arles, Sunday, 23 or Monday, 24 September 1888

Bridge in the Rain (After Hiroshige), 1887

by Vincent Van Gogh