japonisme: orange

10 May 2007


Robert Frederick Blum was a leading American painter, etcher and illustrator of the late nineteenth century. After finishing his studies, he moved to Munich, Germany where he lived and worked for a year. Arriving back in New York City in 1879, Blum established a studio, and before long developed a reputation as a major illustrator; his piece on the right is called 'a Japanese daughter,' and was on the cover of Scribners magazine, one of the first American illustrations to be printed in color. Commissioned by various publications, Blum traveled and worked in England, Italy, Spain, France, Holland, Belgium and Japan. He was, in fact, one of the first Americans to visit Japan and the work he produced there from 1890 to 1892 established his reputation.

With its fine atmospheric effects, the art of Robert Blum has often been seen as a major influence upon the development of American Impressionism. As well, in 1880, 1881 and 1885, he lived and worked in Venice where he came into contact with such American artists residing there as Frank Duveneck, Mortimer Menpes, Joseph Pennell and, most importantly, James McNeil Whistler. Many of Blum's etchings from this period explore similar compositional elements to those of Whistler. 1

For Augustus Vincent Tack, perhaps more than and other artist, The Phillips Collection [of American Art] is both spiritual home and permanent memorial. Tack's personal history is inextricably linked with that of the museum and its founder. He counseled Duncan Phillips on purchases and participated in the administration and decoration of the collector’s fledgling museum. With characteristic independence, Phillips purchased and commissioned many works by Tack, quickly becoming his foremost patron. In 1914, Phillips recorded in his journal his first reaction to Tack’s work when he stated, "my earliest acquaintance with the landscapes of Augustus Tack was one of those experiences which mark an epoch in one's own mental development.... some small panel-shaped canvasses--made me more or less catch my breath with delight."

Phillips felt an affinity for Tack's subjective explorations of nature — country fields in twilight, misty skies, and roseate mountaintops — and for his quiet and poetic view of art that suggested a longing for transport into imaginary realms. In his first published writing on Tack in 1916, Phillips seemed awed by the artist's eclectic broad-mindedness, which had prompted his fascination with both Japanese prints and Gothic glass and even "the sensational performances of Picasso." Phillips added that Tack was responsive "to the most startling revolutionary disturbances in the realms of painting and music." Phillips admired Tack’s rare blending of “abstract mysticism and technical innovation,” his passion for color and decorative surface effects, his fascination with Asian art, and his sensitivity to the parallels between music and art, all of which entered into the artist’s abstractions. 2

[to me, tack's abstracts are a really interesting progression; one can still see the influence of the japanese, but breaks it into pieces.]

to mention some old and new japonisme occurrences on the web. i recently bemoaned the fact that i didn't read japanese, and this week it's russian i don't read and wish i did. but as carrie said, pictures aren't in russian. so no matter what languages you speak, check out her blog, and really funny lady's too for some surprising beauties.

and princess haiku has posted a wondrous assortment of japanese chrysanthemum stamps.

the image above, with the woman with her back showing in the mirror (i was going to say 'the woman in the orange kimono') is by american impressionist frank h desch.

the sheet music is illustrated by 'ray,' yet another mystery illustrator. the japanese print with the kitty is from utamaro kitagawa, and lastly, another poiret (don't know who designed the fabric) painted by a e marty.

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Blogger Princess Haiku said...

The translucent shadings of orange in many of these photos are lovely; not a color I have lived in myself but very appealing in this artwork. Hope you are well and see that your blog is doing great.

11 May, 2007 01:03  
Blogger R.Dress said...

Wonderful posts!!!! Super inspired! great notes too!

11 May, 2007 12:10  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

you know, i don't like orange that much either, but was somehow drawn to this selection. thanks, princess.

r.dress : thanks!!! i am so glad you visited and said so!

12 May, 2007 12:43  

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