japonisme: 4/22/07 - 4/29/07

28 April 2007

the actual clothes: photos that tell the tale

the camera had only recently been invented, and was, in fact, an influence on art and the arts veering from a prettified realism. so we are lucky there are any photos at all of women's fashion from this time.

In 1907, according to Common Threads, A Parade of American Clothing, Anna G. Noyes, who many considered an eccentric, pleaded for a new order of clothing in which women didn't need help getting in and out of clothes, a method of equally distributing the weight of clothes so they would be and feel as natural to the body as skin and bones and an overall design based on the natural curves of the body. She also wanted the right for women to select textile colors best suited to their coloring, to choose fabrics for garments which touched the body that were sanitary and could easily be washed and the elimination of dirty starch; to wear gloves instead of bothersome muffs in the winter, more becoming hats less prone to ridicule, better fitting shoes and the elimination of all jewelry and fur in warm climates which prevented fresh air from penetrating the body.

But most of all she touched upon the very heart of reform by campaigning to eliminate articles of clothing that required unsafe or unhealthy working conditions for workers, a subject many were advocating but went largely ignored by local city officials -- the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in New York City in 1911 would forever be a haunting reminder of those unheeded warnings.

Thus the timing was right for the entrance of the kimono American style - its structure and simplicity embodied an age of new spirit and freedom. Although fashion reform was slow to move until the early 1920s as society makers continued to decree that woman should be corseted, stuffed and layered, the carefree look was making serious inroads. (more)

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27 April 2007

the crane you never knew

it's odd, i know, but whenever i heard the names of certain of male artists, who lived long ago, i always, until beginning this blog, pictured them as old, white-haired, hoary and wizened. not so. many of them, i am finding, are young--and they're cute! take walter crane, for instance.

Walter Crane is one of the most popular English illustrators of the second half of the 19th century. With Kate Greenaway and Randolph Caldecott, he established the genre of picture books for children. The characteristics of his illustrations are decorative frames, use of black outlines and exquisite depiction of, for example, dresses and furniture. His work was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and by Japanese woodblock prints. 1

crane's illustrations and paintings demonstrate his clear placement in the aesthetic movement (primarily the 1860s and 70s, pre-dating the japonisme/art nouveau era by a decade), but even here in this work we see the fans, the pottery, and even the occasional japanese print beginning to sneak in.

his aladdin has strong japanese elements, but is clearly of indeterminate national origin! but even here we have the blue and white tiles of the aesthetic movement (and crane's own home).

what most surprised me about crane were his strong socialist beliefs. in these lithographs, the copy is enlightening (though i really don't understand all the politics).

they are each pages from "Mrs. Mundi at Home RSVP: The Terrestrial Ball", published by Marcus Ward & Co., 1875


it was crane's observation that since the time when east-west trade began in the mid-19th century, it had exerted an enormous influence on the arts of europe. this was because, in his view, life in japan had still been akin to life in europe during medieval times and was thus a country where artists and craftsmen marvelously trained for many kinds of decorative work, and who took part of a bold and unconstrained naturalism. europeans found a living art, an art of the people, in which tradition and artistic talent had remained untainted, and whose work was beautiful, diverse, and with tremendous connection to and communicative of nature. it was not surprising that this art effected western artists as strongly as it did, and that its effects were so profound.

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25 April 2007

rock-a-bye baby, the cat's in the cupboard!

an interesting contrast, from the same era, illustrations for two of the same nursery rhymes as in the previous post. they both are clearly influenced by the japanese, but so differently.

the artist is ww denslow, best known for all of his work with l frank baum, of the oz books.

we'll see more from him in future days.

i thought this was cool.

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at long last blanche

Little is known regarding the writer/artist Blanche McManus, except that she was born on Talladega Plantation, in East Feliciania Parish, Louisiana, in 1870, studied in London and Paris, and returned to the U.S. in 1893 when she established a studio in Chicago. By 1895, she was authoring and illustrating a series of children's books, including The True Mother Goose (1895), The Voyage of the Mayflower (1897) and How the Dutch came to Manhattan (1897). In those same years, she was producing illustrations for other authors books, often working on three or four books at one time.

Around 1900, she travelled with writer/husband, Francis Miltoun (Milburg Francisco Mansfield), throughout Europe and North Africa.

Their collaboration led to a series of travel books, fully illustrated by McManus....The couple is probably best known for a series of illustrated travel books which incorporated the newly invented automobile within a typical travelog of the period.

Blanche McManus' sketches and water colors of the people they met and views of archi- tectural/natural scenes adds an interesting element to the books.

McManus published her first work at the age of 25. and by 30 had illustrated 15 books, 6 of which she authored also.1

(here are her alice in wonderland illustrations.)

and one more wonderful image.

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24 April 2007

who will remember their names?

[One] series by Hiroshige which we will describe is one entitled Kokon Joruri Tsukushi, "Ancient and Modern Dramas Illustrated" ; full size, upright. The number in a complete set is not known, but fourteen plates are here recorded, the largest number hitherto mentioned in any publication, as far as the writer is aware.

The title of the series is on a narrow yellow panel in the top right-hand corner, and the sub-title of the illustration on a red panel in the opposite corner, on each plate. Publisher, Sanoki ; below Hiroshige's signature is a red chrysan- themum seal, a device which has not hitherto been noted on any Hiroshige print; and two censors' seals, which place the date of the series about 1846, during the Prohibi- tion period. Very rare.

1. Sub-title : Katsuragawa Renri-no-Shigarami (the name of the drama), which concerns two lovers, Choyemon, a man forty years old, and O Han, aged fourteen, who, despairing of obtaining their parents' permission to marry, resolve to commit suicide together.

Choyemon is here shown carrying his youthful love on his back, to die together in the waters of the Katsura River, a full moon the only witness of their tragic end. One of the best plates in the series of those known.

The subject of shinju, or double suicide, was first drama- tized in 1703 by the playwright Chikamatsu Monzayemon, in a play called Sonezaki Shinju. Such dramas were called Shinju-mono, and became exceedingly popular, owing to the beautiful language in which Monzayemon described these tragedies, both with the public and other contemporary dramatists, and it is said their influence was such that the numbers of cases of double suicide increased to an alarming extent.

('captains courageous,' and nursery rhyme illustration, by blanche mcmanus; more from her tomorrow. sinbad illustration from edmund dulac. illustration from 'kling klang gloria' -- a book of childrens' songs -- by heinrich lefler.)

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23 April 2007

blanche can wait

it all began because i found a poster by blanche mcmanus in one of my books, and so i had to explore. there will be way more another day (maybe tomorrow), but in the meantime, perhaps you can see why this poster of hers provoked today's post. (i already had the ohara koson, which is also inspiring.)

katsu- shika hoku- sai did his manga in 1821, and jules- auguste habert-dys gave us this gorgeous illustration, inspired by the japanese work, some 80 years later.

hiroshige's birds flew cross the moon some time around 1800, and h. charles tomlinson's birds had to wait 100 years before they could gather up this girl's palm of crumbs.

and the same time frame occurred before the book's flock was set free (unknown designer); they waited 100 years after hiroshige's work.

nakamura hochu worked even earlier, circa 1700, but hoytema, dutch, was painting birds 150 years before he was born.

(for more birds, check out some of our earlier posts here, and here, and here. and be sure not to miss the charming post here.)

one more reminder of what went not so long before

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22 April 2007

from hiroshige commest all things

the more i study the visual arts of this period the more i am astonished i am at the breadth of influence of hiroshige (whose work was, perhaps, the first stuff available).

the latest thing i've found, here, are some of dulac's illustrations for hawthorn's tanglewood tales. (though i'll admit that i think i could eventually find them all if every hiroshige print were online.)

we saw czeschka's inspired interpretation of hiroshige's eagle, and now we see dulac's bow as well.

we also saw czeschka's modelling of a boat after hiroshige's method of portraying them, and here we have dulac's too.

aha! i have identified one of the images in the background of one of the pere tanguy portraits. i will assume that van gogh did with these what he did with the others -- he traced the prints themselves, then made a grid and transferred them this way. just below that is the same kiesai eisen image we saw here.

and of course, hiroshige did the original.

just as a side note: i guess that another way to do it is the way miro did with his friend ricart: he pasted it on! (have yet to identify that one, though.)

(p.s. doesn't that 'eye' on this boat resemble the one on dulac's boat?)

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