japonisme: 4/29/07 - 5/6/07

05 May 2007

where the lanterns glow

At the beginning of the century, during the 'Meiji' era in Japan, Japan exported many singers and musicians to the west, who had a great deal of influence on turn-of- the-century composers, especially in Europe (Puccini, Ravel and Debussy being the most prominent.) In the U. S., music with "oriental" titles began to appear, but in most cases, this was an excuse to produce staccato notes in the upper register of the piano.

["Yo-San, A Japanese Intermezzo Two Step"] is the exception, and actually echoes a Japanese popular song of the era (which itself had been influenced by American music of thirty years before). [note the various different songs with similar or exact titles. note the 'half-will- bradley-half-kimono dress.]

The end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth saw a great deal of interest in Japanese culture in the arts. Puccini wrote "Madame Butterfly", Gilbert & Sullivan wrote "The Mikado" and singers and dancers from Japan toured America and Europe to tremendous critical acclaim.

The popular arts were not immune from this interest: prior to 1905 the musical play "The Mayor of Tokio" played all over the country to large crowds, and the overture was recorded by Vess Ossman, playing banjo for Columbia Records. There was even a popular candy-bar called "Sa-Yo" with the picture of a Japanese maid on the wrapper. This ragtime excursion into orientalia shows the tremendous breadth of Henry Lodge's talent. Starting with themes from "The Mikado" he quickly develops a gentle syncopation which manages to sustain the oriental feeling while becoming a robust rag. (more)

in fact, much of what was written, of what is shown here (just a begin- ning), is a fine combination of ragtime from the african south, "tin pan alley" from the eastern european northeast, and, well.... japonisme -- the asian west coast. immigrants celebrating diversity.


03 May 2007

safety glass

these are kageyama, the stencils with which kimono fabric is made.

this is kimono fabric.

edouard benedictus was a designer of fabric and wallpaper patterns.

his rug designs are of my favorites. here are some. and here is where to get in touch with the arts and crafts home, which grows more comprehensive all the time, with biographies of the artists/craftspeople of the period, and and increasingly wide selection of examples.

he also coordinates a service wherein rugs of distant eras can be woven anew for you. god i wish i was rich.

so why, you might ask, is this post entitled 'safety glass'? In 1903, a French chemist called Edouard Benedictus dropped a glass flask on the floor of his laboratory. The flask shattered but, to Benedictus's surprise, the glass did not fly apart. Rather, the shards and splinters stayed together in the shape of the original flask. The flask had contained a solution of cellulose nitrate. A thin film of this chemical had been left behind in the flask and formed a lining. This lining was strong enough to hold the glass together when it broke. Benedictus kept and labelled the interesting flask. He thought little more of it until a few weeks later, when he read of two accidents in which motorists had crashed and been seriously injured by flying glass. (more)

yup. same guy.

Labels: , ,

01 May 2007

first there is a mountain

then there is no mountain

then there is

Labels: ,

30 April 2007

bringing it home

i found a very interesting resource today via designers' block.

it's the stencil library (click the logo below), and i've only represented the barest minimum of their offerings (coloring mine).

and apparently the woman who does stencil library also has started a blog which, even at first glance, is heartbreakingly lovely: design inspiration.

i won't display any of the offerings as i think i've enough art here already, but.....

check them out.


29 April 2007

mum's the word

they don't know who made this print, so they don't know when. the japanese chrysanthemum.

this one they do know, it's from the late 1800s, and it's by bairei kono, creator of lovely, simple images of fruits, vegetables, flowers, puppies, and other familiars of everyday life, seen unadorned, and beautifully.

in 1893, keika hasegawa put out his '100 chrysanthemums.' i can find no reference to anything else he ever did, nor anything about him. but i like his mums.

it was 1904 when seguy put out his art nouveau flower pouchoirs, and lithographs. japonisme in full... uh... bloom.

jo worked in the 1920s and 30s in japan, though it has been suggested that he may not be japanese. but don't you love that little grasshopper.

shodo kawarazaki's two prints come out of the 1950s, a tradition worth keeping, kept.

and this is from 1995, and not from japan at all, but much of this artist's work shows a clear understanding of the sensibility.

many thanks to cerf à paillettes for turning me on to robert kushner.

when japan did what it inadvertently did to teach us seeing, it left a lasting impression.

Labels: , , , , , ,

newer posts older posts