japonisme: lady in black, with fan...

25 November 2006

lady in black, with fan...

it became de rigeur for the uppercrust woman to have her portrait painted in, or with kimono, japanese screen,


fan, japanese ceramics, or any combination thereof. this is only the beginning. much more to come.









David R. Brigham
1, in American Impres- sionism: Paintings of Promise, says, "A number of .... Impres- sionists, .... painted female figures in interiors adorned with Japanese





effects. Kimonos, screens, fans, and porcelain added richness of texture and meaning to their subjects."






so is this still all interesting to some readers? yesterday was de-lurking day! so please de-lurk. i would love to hear your thoughts! thanks.

(starting at upper right: manet 1873;
chadwick 1891;
sir john lavery;
whistler;
julius le blanc stewart 1908)

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incroyable...
J'ignorais complètement!
C'est très beau.

26 November, 2006 02:10  
Blogger Florence said...

Of course it is interesting! No lurking allowed I say :D

xx

26 November, 2006 04:03  
Blogger Michael said...

I always check all the interesting things you have to say on your subject, and look forward to the education I receive from you.

No lurking by me, I assure you!

26 November, 2006 17:15  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

If you are going to invite de-lurking, you have to anticipate a variety of uninformed responses. Here is mine:

Help me understand the aesthetic and symbolic difference between a kimono and a mere robe or caftan in the west. I can see how kimono are more fashionable and exotic as a subject for painters because of their country of origin, but what else inspires all these pictures you show us? From a purely visual perspective, it seems that kimono are not as contoured to fit the human form or display what are often perceived as the interesting parts. Instead, they seem to be flat and often rectangular panels where the bountiful folds of beautiful material and the designs on the panels take center stage over the human anatomy underneath. I'm sure I'm going about this all wrong, but throw us a life raft here!

29 November, 2006 18:00  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i can see it now, whistler's lover posed langourously in her quilted terrycloth robe and pink bunny slippers!

yes, you're right, the impression of exoticism was part of it, and the exquisite beauty of the fabrics couldn't be more important. but you raise an interesting question worth looking into.

you say that the garments were "not as contoured" but that was just their use in the west. you rarely see a woman in an open kimono in the eastern images. not only were they to fit perfectly, but layers of meaning were imparted with layers of fabric.

the designs were symbolic, the cut of the sleeves was symbolic, and even, now that since noticing it, i see it in practically every print: that holding up and together the layers of skirt in front so many women are featured as doing looks just too labial to be merely to avoid mud.

so no, though the pre-raphealites embraced them first as, finally!, unstructured clothing, that was our reading, not that of the japanese.

perhaps it's merely because they were sumptuous and new to our eyes. yes, new to our eyes. what a wonder that can be.

30 November, 2006 11:08  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

and nathako, florence, and michael: hugs

30 November, 2006 11:09  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Thanks, lotusgreen. I appreciate your being my guide to the symbolism. You've given me directions to pursue re the significance of various kimono designs. And a most interesting take on the bunched skirt. I always learn here.

04 December, 2006 01:07  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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