Source: WikiCommons - Le Monde Illustre 1867
The seminar was about the influence of Japanese Art in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century
It is frequently acknowledged that the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists were ‘influenced’ by the art of Japan, but what exactly do we mean by that? Were these painters more interested in the unfamiliar subject matter of Japanese art, or in the liberating use of line and colour? What sort of images were artists looking at, and how did they access them?History of the influence on Japan on art in Europe
This talk will try to answer some of these questions through close scrutiny of paintings in the National Gallery. Focusing on figure painting, we will investigate the collections of Japanese prints owned by Degas, Renoir and Van Gogh to discover what they ‘translated’ from the Japanese images they loved.
Artists who were influenced by Japanese art include Manet, Pierre Bonnard, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Mary Cassatt, Degas, Renoir, James McNeill Whistler (Rose and silver: La princesse du pays de porcelaine, 1863-64), Monet, van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gaugin, and Klimt. Some artists, such as Georges Ferdinand Bigot, even moved to Japan because of their fascination with Japanese art.
Although works in all media were influenced, printmaking was not surprisingly particularly affected, although lithography, not woodcut, was the most popular medium. The prints and posters of Toulouse-Lautrec can hardly be imagined without the Japanese influence. Not until Félix Vallotton and Paul Gaugin was woodcut itself much used for japonesque works, and then mostly in black and white.
Wikipedia - Japonism
The key events were as follows:
- 1635 - Japan becomes isolated from the rest of the world.
- 1853-54 - Commodore Perry's fleet arrives and then concludes a trade treaty - Japan opens for trade
- 1855 - Japan concludes trade treaties with Russia, USA, Great Britain and France.
- 1856 - French engraver Félix Bracquemond came across a copy of the sketch book Hokusai Manga at the workshop of his printer; pages had been used as packaging for a consignment of porcelain. His subsequent dialogue with ceramicist Theodore Deck who had studied far eastern techniques fostered the ultimate growth of Japonisme
- 1860-61 - reproductions (in black and white) of ukiyo-e were published in books on Japan.
- 1862 - Japanese import and tea shop 'La Porte Chinoise' opens at 36 Rue Vivienne in Paris. This contributed to public knowledge of Far Eastern ways. Subsequently, it became ' de rigeur' for all department stores then started to have Chinese and Japanese departments
- 1867 - End of the Edo period / beginning of the Meiji Period in Japan
- 1867 - stoneware service decorated with motifs from Hokusai's Manga commissioned by Rousseau, a dealer in ceramics
- 1867 - Exposition Universelle in Paris - includes Japanese objects and prints
- 1867-8 - Manet paints Zola against a background of Japanese woodcuts in Manet's studio.
Musee d'Orsay / Wikicommons
- 1872 - "Japonisme" created as a term by a French art critic, Philippe Burty, to "designate a new field of study--artistic, historic and ethnographic" which would present a more systematic and comprehensive approach to the newly discovered Japanese art.
- 1876 - Monet paints 'La Japonaise' (now in the Museum of Fine Art in Boston)
- 1878 - Exposition Universelle in Paris - includes a Japanese Pavilion
- 1878 - Ernest Chesnau published Le Japon a Paris on the influence of Japanese Art.
- 1887 - Vincent and Theo Van Gogh exhibit their collection of Japanese woodcuts at Le Tambourin, Boulevard de Clichy
- 1888 - Parisian dealer Samuel Bing founded Le Japon Artistique - a new periodical printed in German and English and effectively 'created' Japonisme. Van Gogh subscribed to this
- 1890 - Exhibition of woodblock prints at L'Ecole fes Beaux Arts - a display of 763 woodcuts.
- 1893 - Bing organises exhibition of prints by Utamaro and Hiroshige.
- 1900 - The Japanese pavilion at the international exhibition in Paris included India ink drawings, calligraphy and early sculptures.
- Japanese art influences Art Nouveau and the Symbolist movement.
In the spring of 1890, shortly after visiting an extensive exhibition of Japanese prints at the Ecole des beaux-arts, Paris, Mary Cassatt wrote a note to Berthe Morisot: "You who want to make color prints wouldn't dream of anything more beautiful. . . . You must see the Japanese—come as soon as you can."
Art Explorer - Introduction: Cassatt's Influence from Japanese Art
Hilaire Germaine Edgar Degas
Pastel, over etching, aquatint, drypoint, and crayon électrique on tan wove paper
305 x 127 mm (image/plate); 313 x 137 mm (sheet)
Art Institute of Chicago
- Mary Cassatt and Degas were friends and worked closely together.
- Cassatt had the means to build up a large collection of prints. She was hugely influenced by the art from Japan.
- Prints of Japanese courtesans appear to be clearly reflected in his works of women bathing.
- Degas' painting of Mary Cassatt at the Louvre is clearly influenced by Japanese art in terms of cropping and colouring. This mixed media version is also an etching which has been coloured. This one in the Metropolitan Museum shows it in a different format and as a mono version. In my opinion, I think Degas was trying to get more of a sense of the quality of some of the printing effects achieved by the Japanese.
- Van Gogh acquired 474 prints - many of them from Bing. Vincent and Theo Van Gogh put on an exhibition of Japanese prints before Vincent went to work in the south of France. Van Gogh tried to reproduce the line of the wood block print in his pen and ink drawings. Some of the perspective 'issues' in his paintings is believed to relate to how perspective is treated in Japanese prints.
- Monet owned 12 volumes of Hokusai's Manga. The walls of his dining room at Giverny are decorated with Japanese prints.
Techniques - Block print on paper; 26 cm x 19 cm (unframed)
V&A Museum no. E.1053-1963 / Wikipedia
Karly Allen suggested that the key artists were as follows. I've added the hyperlinks.
Suzuki Harunobu (1725-70)She showed us how Japanese prints compared to compositions by western artists - which is difficult to reproduce in a blog post because tracking down images takes a lot of time! However I'm going to try and do at least one post which demonstrates this. Once you start seeing the comparisons, one quickly becomes very clear about the degree of influence.
Isoda Koryusai (active 1765-80s)
Kitigawa Utamaro (1753-1806)
Torii Kiyonaga (1752- 1815)
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)
Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858)
Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864)
To the Impressionists and their second generation successors, Japonisme spelt liberation, the revelation of techniques which released them from the old traditional concepts of classical modelling taught at the academies.A number of the museums are really excellent sources of information about how Japanese art and prints in particular influenced western art.
Siegfriend Wichman Japonisme
Some of the influences on the Impressionists were identified as being the following. I've suggested some of the artists whose work particularly exemplifies this:
- their particular way of cutting off/cropping their subject (Degas)
- asymmetric compositions leaving lots of empty space (Degas)
- graphic treatment of bands of colour (Cassatt)
- combining flat but intense hues (Monet, Van Gogh)
Gradations in large areas with intermediate tones.It seems to be me that the last quotation (below) is certainly one way of viewing what one can get out of a project of this sort.
Integrated forms with implied borders.
Stylized, neutralized and formulized expressions.
Beguiling combinations of curved and straight lines.
The dynamic and slow-fast-slow nature of some curves.
Two-dimensional patterns within three-dimensional forms.
Plain, formalized and controlled perspective.
Use of solid black for strong contrast.
Pattern gradations on particular fabrics.
Hard-won gradations for sensitive areas such as hairlines.
Pictorial attention to ordinary domestic scenes.
Decentralized or off-picture subject placement.
Robert Genn - Japanese Prints
Each of them assimilated from Japanese Art the qualities closest to their own gifts. All of them found in Japanese Art a confirmation, rather than an inspiration, of their personal ways of seeing, feeling and interpreting natureLinks:
Ernest Chesneau 'Le Japon a Paris'
- Timeline of Japonisme
- Metropolitan Museums of Art - Japonisme
- Art Institute of Chicago
- Introduction: Cassatt's Influence from Japanese Art
- Degas's Mary Cassatt in the Paintings Gallery at the Louvre
- Wikipedia -
- Japonisme - the Japanese Influence on Western Art since 1858 by Siegfried Wichmann (Thames and Hudson 1981; paperback 1999; reprinted 2007)
- Japonisme - Cultural Crossings between Japan and the West Lionel Lambourne, Phaidon
- Examination: Cassatt's Artistic Portrayals of Contemporary Women and Children A look at two of Cassatt's favorite subjects - women involved in everyday activities and women interacting with children - and the influence of Japanese art on her work.
- Japonisme: East-West Renaissance in the Late 19th Century Journal article by Yoko Chiba; Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 31, 1998