1.4.3.5 Japonism (1854-1900)

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QUICK LINKS:
Emile Zola, Manet
La parisienne japonaise, Stevens
Harmony in Blue and Gold, Whistler
Mary Cssett at the Louvre, Degas
Père Tanguy, Van Gogh
Still Life with Head-shaped Vase…, Gauguin
Divan Japonais, Toulouse-Lautrec

Japonisme is a French French term used to describe a range of European borrowings from Japanese art. It was coined in 1872 by the French critic, collector and printmaker Philippe Burty ‘to designate a new field of study—artistic, historic and ethnographic’, encompassing decorative objects with Japanese designs (similar to 18th-century Chinoiserie), paintings of scenes set in Japan, and Western paintings, prints and decorative arts influenced by Japanese aesthetics.

Scholars in the 20th century have distinguished japonaiserie, the depiction of Japanese subjects or objects in a Western style, from Japonisme, the more profound influence of Japanese aesthetics on Western art.

[Source: artsandculture.google.com]

During the Kaei era (1848–1854), after more than 200 years of seclusion, foreign merchant ships of various nationalities began to visit Japan. Following the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan ended a long period of national isolation and became open to imports from the West, including photography and printing techniques.

With this new opening in trade, Japanese art and artifacts began to appear in small curiosity shops in Paris and London. Japonisme began as a craze for collecting Japanese art, particularly ukiyo-e. Some of the first samples of ukiyo-e were to be seen in Paris. The Ukiyo-e became a great influence on painting and the decorative arts.

[1435-10]

Emile Zola, Cézanne’s boyhood friend, showed an early interest in painting. He was particularly interested in the artists rejected by the official critics.

In 1866, he wrote an article on Manet in La Revue du XXe siècle and defended him again the next year when he organised a private exhibition on the fringes of the Universal Exhibition. Zola regarded the artist, who was contested by traditionalists, as one of the masters of the future, whose place was in the Louvre. In 1867, the article was published as a slim brochure with a blue cover, here in full view on the table.

To thank him, Manet offered to paint Zola’s portrait. The sittings took place in Manet’s studio, rue Guyot. The setting was arranged for the occasion with items characteristic of Zola’s personality, tastes and occupation.

On the wall is a reproduction of Manet’s Olympia, a painting which sparked a fierce scandal at the 1865 Salon but which Zola held to be Manet’s best work. Behind it is an engraving from Velazquez’s Bacchus indicating the taste for Spanish art shared by the painter and the writer.

A Japanese print of a wrestler by Utagawa Kuniaki II completes the décor. The Far East, which revolutionised ideas on perspective and colour in European painting, played a central role in the advent of the new style of painting. A Japanese screen on the left of the picture recalls this.
[Source: musee-orsay.fr]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Emile Zola, Portrait of1868Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Manet, Édouard1832-1883, aged 51French painter ParisJaponism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1435-11

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France147 x 114  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
La parisienne japonaise is an oil on canvas painting by Belgian painter Alfred Stevens. It depicts a young woman in a blue kimono standing in front of a mirror. The painting testifies to Stevens’ involvement with Japonisme. Stevens was one of the earliest collectors of Japanese art in Paris.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
La parisienne japonaise1872Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Stevens, Alfred1823-1906, aged 83Belgian painterJaponism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1435-12

La Boverie, Liége Belgium112 x 77  
Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (better known as The Peacock Room) is the masterpiece of interior decorative art created by James McNeill Whistler and Thomas Jeckyll, translocated to the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Whistler painted the panelled room in a rich and unified palette of brilliant blue-greens with over-glazing and metallic gold leaf. Painted between 1876–77, it now is considered one of the greatest surviving Aesthetic interiors, and best examples of the Anglo-Japanese style.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Harmony in Blue and Gold: Peacock Room1876-7Wd/Cnv/LthrInterior Decoration
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Whistler, James McNeill1834-1903, aged 69American painterJaponism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1435-13

Freer Gallery of Art, 1050 Independence Ave. SW. Washington DC USA422 x 613 x 1026  
Among the most technically complex of Degas’ prints, this view of Mary Cassatt and her sister in the galleries of the Musée du Louvre was intended, like Pissarro‘s Wooded Landscape at L’Hermitage, Pontoise (21.46.1), to appear in the first issue of the prospective journal Le Jour et la Nuit, on which the two artists collaborated with Cassatt and Félix Bracquemond.

The group was intent on achieving new tonal effects in their prints by innovatively working up the surfaces of etching plates, perhaps spurred by achievements in Impressionist paintings or by advances in photography.
[Source: metmuseum.org]

Image source: metmuseum.org
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Mary Cassatt at the Louvre: The Etruscan Gallery1879-80Aquatint etchingGenre painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Degas, Edgar 1834-1917, aged 83French painter ParisJaponism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1435-14

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City27 x 23  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Portrait of Père Tanguy, painted by Vincent van Gogh in 1887, is one of his three paintings of Julien Tanguy.

The three works demonstrate a progression in van Gogh’s artistic style after his arrival in Paris.

The first is somber, and formed from a simple composition. The second introduces van Gogh’s Japanese prints. The last and most advanced in style, skill and colour integrates Japanese, Impressionist, and other influences on the Parisian artist community.

This painting conveys a sense of serenity that van Gogh seeks for himself. This last painting of Tanguy is in the Musée Rodin, Paris.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Père Tanguy, Portrait of 1887Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
van Gogh, Vincent1853-1890, aged 37Dutch painterJaponism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1435-15

Musée Rodin, Paris France65 x 51  
Still Life with Head-Shaped Vase and Japanese Woodcut is a still life painting by Paul Gauguin. In 1888 and 1889 his enthusiasm for Japanese ukiyo-e woodcuts emerged. The woodcut in this artwork depicts an ukiyo-e portrait of an actor. Japanese prints also appear in the background of his Apple and Vase painting, and his portrait of The Schuffenecker Family.
[Source: Wikimedia commons}

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Still Life with Head-shaped Vase and Japanese Woodcut1889Oil/CanvasStill Life
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Gauguin, Paul1848-1903, aged 54French painterJaponism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1435-16

Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran, Iran72 x 93  

Image source: metmuseum.org
Divan Japonais was one of the many café-concerts in late nineteenth-century Paris frequented by Toulouse-Lautrec. His poster advertising the nightspot features two of his favorite Montmartre stars, Yvette Guilbert and Jane Avril.

Here, Avril is a spectator, not a performer, as she sits in the foreground with Édouard Dujardin, a dandyish writer and nightclub habitué. In the upper left corner, on stage, is the headless body of Guilbert, recognizable by her trademark long black gloves and gaunt physique.
[Source: metmuseum.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Divan Japonais1892-3Lithograph posterGenre painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de 1864-1901, aged 36French painter ParisJaponism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City81 x 61  

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Back to 1.4.3.4 Luminism (1850-1875) – Back to Realism and Barbizon index

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