japonisme: 4/1/07 - 4/8/07

07 April 2007



I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.

My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whalebone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime-tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

And the plashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden- paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles
on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon --
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
"Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday se'nnight."
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
"Any answer, Madam," said my footman.
"No," I told him.
"See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer."
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, "It shall be as you have said."
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?


(amy lowell's imagistic style, about which there is some debate as to quality, is of the school of poetry said to have been inspired by japonisme.)

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06 April 2007

how we move, how we stand, how we sit

Torii Kiyonaga.

Joseph Kleitsch .

Maria Likarz
Eisen Tomioka.
Joseph Rodefer DeCamp .
George Barbier.

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05 April 2007

un peu plus des fleurs

anguloagudus has his own demonstration of japanese influence on western art, from comics to oil paintings. his blog is fascinating, and it's interesting to see manga/comics, and how they are so rooted in each other.

also thanks to marcos for the pointer.


04 April 2007

flowers every spring

isn't this just amazing? it's from the met's coverage of the Barcelona and Modernity: Gaudi to Dali exhibition.

"The first comprehensive survey of its type ever mounted in America, this exhibition explores the diverse and innovative work of Barcelona's artists, architects, and designers in the years between the Barcelona Universal Exposition of 1888 and the imposition of the Fascist regime of Francisco Franco in 1939."

and thanks to lazyrobots for the link.

i also want to introduce y'all to someone whose work has been part of my life for more than 30 years, because he is such a fixture here in berkeley. david lance goines has been making posters for longer than that, and many of them, for a local bike shop, or a restaurant, or the public library, hang on walls all over town.

yes, i know that he's known nationally now, but still, most of his posters are for places around here. i post this one here, now, because of the similarity of the flowers here and at the top of the "sofa-display case" (made by Gaspar Homar and Josep Pey), and i see clearly in both gifts from japan, gifts that once given never stop.

and then this is from around 1800 (nakamura hochu), before the japanese had ever heard of us. personally, though i'm horrified by the methods, i'm grateful that they finally did.

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03 April 2007

in chronological order (sort of)

japan: hokusai '36 views of mt fuji' ca. 1829

britian: analysis of waves from an 1880 book on japanese ornament and design

japan: seitei wata- nabe ca. 1900
japan: ohara koson ca. 1915

russia: ivan bilibin ca 1905

japan: isono 1905

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02 April 2007

hungary for more?

Painter, graphic artist and industrial designer, Géza Faragó's richness of ideas, and posters full of original humor in Art Nouveau, had a great influence on the development of Hungarian posters.

One rather interesting episode in the history of Hungarian industrial culture is the fortuitous meeting between the United Lamp and Electric Co (trade name: Tungsram) founded in 1872, and Faragó was one of the most popular Hungarian poster artists at the turn of the century. It was a success story that established a lasting reputation for the factory and artist alike.

An invention by Ferenc Hanaman, engineer, and his associate, Sándor Juszt, the tungsten lamp emitted 3.5 times the amount of light, with the same consumption of power, than its predecessor the carbon filament lamp.The poster designer compares the brilliance of the light bulb to the brilliance of sunshine: the graceful female figure looking into the sunlight shades her eyes with delicate hands. 1

Faragó's early career as a textile designer is evident in this decor- atively-patterned poster promoting men's and women's fashions at Budapest's then-elegant Golya department store (golya is the Hungarian word for stork).

Géza Faragó was a pupil of Mucha and Colarossi in Paris in 1898. On his return to Hungary, his works were exhibited in 1900. After another stay of some years in Paris, he became a pupil of Adolf Fényes in Szolnok, and Béla Iványi Grünwald in Kecskemét, then settled down in Budapest around 1905.

He designed stage sceneries and cartoons. His posters were exhibited in Berlin in 1914. From 1910 to 1915 he was a stage designer at Király Theatre, at the Operetta Theatre, Budapest, and later at UFA Studio. "Hungarian Wedding", a ballet, was on in London for a year. His most famous posters include "Gottschlig Reem", "Törley Champagne" (1909), "Kerpel Hand Moisterer" (1910). His works were exhibited in 1910, 1923 and 1928. "Evening by the Danube", "Early Moonshine", "Morning" and "Peasant Girl in Seelfeld" are in the collection of the Hungarian National Gallery.He specialized in costume design, working at theaters in Budapest and Vienna, and many of his paintings hang in the Hungarian National Gallery.

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01 April 2007


the least known area of influence in japonisme is in fine dining.

perhaps the jump from sushi to crepe is the easiest to see: one rolls delightful substances into some grain. we still say, 'merci meiji!' for that one.

the inspir- ation for con- somme from miso soup is also obvious, once you analyse. few people know that this also led to the french invention of sauces! (some still swear that this was due to teriyaki, but obviously, that is just wrong.)

the journey from tofu to cheese is but a brief one (truly, it's only their shapes that differ), but it's a fascinating study, should you ever attempt to make it.

and french wine is clearly an offshoot from saki, though some still debate this fact, attributing all french wines to their california origins.

clearly everyone's favorite here is the leap from bean roll to pastry; sweets are still sweets in any language.

and, as they say in japan--'bon appétit!'


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