japonisme: the color of light

14 October 2007

the color of light

well, it might seem strange to say it, but it is none the less true, that be- fore the arrival among us of the japanese picture books, there was no one in france who dared to seat himself on the banks of a river and to put side by side on his canvas a roof frankly red, a white-washed wall, a green poplar, a yellow road, and blue water. t duret, 1886

what seems to have hastened the success of these new- comers, monet, pissarro, and sisley, is that their pictures are painted in a singularly joyful range of color. a blond light inundates them, and everything in them is gaiety, sparkle, springtime fete, evenings of gold or apple trees in flower -- again an inspiration from japan. galerie durand-ruel 1873

Japanese color tends not to be harmonic or atmospheric: it is distinct, a sequence of clear notes struck on the retina. To a greater degree than in Western art, each color comes equipped with its own symbolic associations, which remain more or less constant through its use in architecture, print, neon, fabric design, packaging, food or painting. Red, for instance, pertains to magic and sorcery, vitality, fire and the conquest of evil spirits.

Japanese color is grounded in nature: every indigo or cobalt dye runs, as it were, back to the sea.

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Blogger harlequinpan said...

Thank you!! Lily
For me,these are wonderful gifts!!!

15 October, 2007 10:02  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

well, that's wonderful, hp! thanks for letting me know. i think of you often when i come across this or that, while i'm researching stuff. (that becomes true of all the visitors here as i come to know them)

15 October, 2007 10:22  

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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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