japonisme: 1/21/07 - 1/28/07

27 January 2007

the greater of the two?

i came across a very interesting article about a museum exhibition in japan:

It can only be described as culture shock of historical scope. After 300 years of virtually complete isolation, the painters of a nation with its own proud artistic traditions--refined, diverse, inspired--were suddenly confronted with paintings showing scenes of unknown lands with a realism that they had never imagined within the realm of painting, and executed in paints capable of a seemingly impossible range of nuance, even transparency.

Even if a similar culture shock was occurring on the other side of the world at about the same time, as European painters were enchanted with the intriguing perspectives and creative use of color in Japanese ukiyo-e prints, the shock of the Japanese painters must surely have been the greater of the two.(page no longer available.)

the translated version of the page about the exhibition is here.

the images here are by john william waterhouse (apparently untranslatable), a painter clearly in both the pre-raphaelite and impressionist camps, with a look clearly quite different from what the japanese artists were doing.

the second i'm afraid i can't figure out the name of the second artist, but i believe i can see influences of van gogh and even the nabis.

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25 January 2007

woman with halo

well, galliano may have gone all out in his interpretation of japonisme, but jean paul gaultier has given us a glorious revisit of mucha.

woman with halo, this is what appears in nearly every single mucha image. of course he is not the only designer who has sainted us.

our hats have often served as halo, and in japan, the greater the halo, the more prestigious the courtesan.

and then of course there's often been umbrella as halo.

but easily the most notable is halo as halo itself.1

(gaultier, mucha, gaultier, barbier, unknown, kinichika toyohara, maud tousey fangel, unknown, yoshitoshi -- i think...., fr. theodore jurievicz)

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24 January 2007

japonisme and galliano

Dior brings Japonism- and Couture- back to Paris1

Amanda Gore in Designers, Luxury, Paris, Show Reports

The magnificent couture gowns sent down the runway by John Galliano for Dior yesterday had more than a slight flavour of geisha, as models with perfectly painted white faces were swathed in folds of rich fabrics and exotic colours in outfits intricately constructed of origami pleats, kimono jackets, obi belts, and Hokusai-inspired prints.

The highly extravagant and elaborate outfits showed that the skills of couture are still very much alive, and demanded poise and grace from the models.2

(gekko ogata; helen dryden)

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23 January 2007

blue heads

who is this bird, or these birds?

it seems unlikely that there are two completely different birds both with blue heads, red breasts, and black throats.

but... the ones on the berries have longer, thinner beaks. the ones on the cherries have a white eye-stripe and an orange tail.

the ones on the berries have no eye-stripe and a black tail which appears to be shorter.

is it a case of artistic licence?

(the two top ones on the left are by ohara koson and i couldn't retrace that third one; on the right, the top and middle are sozan ito, and the bottom one is biho hirose )

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22 January 2007

scotland and japan

i have come across a number of painters of this era who are western, and who paint in a decidedly western style, but favor japanese subjects. one of these is the scottish painter edward atkinson hornel.

while some of his paintings and drawings take on the asymmetry of the japanese prints, in general his main influence was the beauty of what he saw in japan.

hornel was sent to japan with his friend george henry, by his glasgow art dealer, alexander reid, who was responsible for interesting the two painters in the new wave of japonisme, and the old one of japanese prints.1

henry as well loved painting the visions he saw in japan, but only his watercolors survived the trip home; the oils were not sufficiently dry.2

an early subscriber to the infusion of japonisme, japan anyway, into literature was the man who called himself pierre loti. his 'madame chrysanthemum'3 is considered the first japonisme novel, a precursor to 'madame butterfly.' hornel created illustrations for it.

the book is here.

(top two images are hornel; the right-hand image below them is henry; the illustration is again by hornel; the last is of hornel by bessie macnichol.)

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