japonisme: 1/14/07 - 1/21/07

20 January 2007

reading recommendations desired

some say that stephane mallarme's poetry was influenced by japonisme -- not in the way mentioned earlier, the simplified form, without rhyme, as seen in haiku.

it's obvious that he was into these new forms from the east; he made these fans, this notebook, with illustrations borrowed directly from hiroshige.

what has been said is that mallarme took the same things that the visual artists took: a certain use of spaces, a certain focus on nature, a certain "color."

i find that fascinating but you couldn't learn it from me because i have never read mallarme. nor have i read zola, or proust, or much of thomas mann, henry james, andre gide, d h lawrence, or anyone else who could really give me a picture of what it was like living exactly when all this was going on.

so i would greatly appreciate recommendations. if it's a translation, whose version is the best? who should i read? where should i start? thanking you in advance.

(Stéphane Mallarmé-fan for Misia Natanson; Stéphane Mallarmé and François Coppée- inscriptions and drawings in Méry Laurent's album, ca. 1891; Signature fan, ca. 1892; Hiroshige.)

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19 January 2007

perseus and the children

several days ago i talked about ethel mars and maud hunt squire. i wasn't able to find many images by them, but pk at bibliodyssey has unburied some treasures.

the couple illustrated children's books together, and pk has offered up four: 'Children of Our Town,' 'The Adventures of Ulysses,' 'The Heroes,' and 'A Child's Garden of Verse.'

i am filled with astonishment at the obvious traces of the japanese influence in these seemingly unrelated images; not a fan, kimono, or painted screen to be found.

but the wonderful line is there, along with the asymmetry, the use of large foreground framing images, even the way the water is drawn.

check 'em out. & thanks, pk.

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15 January 2007

drape & accent

i thought this one was a good one for looking at the colors de goncourt was talking about. i am also exploring the comparisons of shawls and kimono as far as drape and accent for a woman; i think they do much the same thing.

(Courtesans Strolling Beneath Cherry Trees Before the Daikokuya Teahouse1789 Kitagawa Utamaro)

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14 January 2007

the light

alexandre lunois made his first original color lithographs in 1886, and his continued work in this field helped to elevate the field to a fine art by the end of the century.

his study of japanese art is particularly evident in his use of color, outline, structure, and the flat planes of hue. the shape of clothing and lighting fixtures are an indication as well.

edmond de goncourt, an artist, writer, philo- sopher, critic, and contemporary of lunois said of his work, "a very remarkable print is the lithograph entitled spanish dancers be-
fore the dance
. a sheet of the grandest character might pass for a japanese imitation in its intensity of tones, the raw blue at the bottom, the yellow, the pure red, the nocturnal black shadows at the fullness of the figure."

the image with the single woman is the one from the 'seeking the floating world' catalogue, as is the quote. interestingly, it is entitled, l'illumination, the light.


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