Saturday, June 21, 2008

Japonisme ~ When East Met West

Japan had long been isolated from the West, but after 1868, exports of prints, bronzes, textiles and ceramics began, all of which became wildly popular in America and Europe. Indeed, the art of Japan had a tremendous influence on the Impressionist painters of the day, particularly in France. Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Manet, Degas, Mary Cassatt, Paul Gauguin, Renoir and Klimt were all especially taken with the wood-block prints, called ukiyo-e, which were collected and prized by the artists. The prints used color in ways that inspired not only the Impressionists but also eventually influenced both Art Nouveau and Cubism. Ukiyo-e and the Japanese style, known as Japonisme, impacted painting and lithography and was incorporated into furniture, jewelry and textile design, as well.

The paintings are by Vincent van Gogh, both made in 1887, with strong Japonisme elements. The first is called "The Blooming Plum Tree" and the second is "Portrait of Pere Tanguy".

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