japonisme: sunday night at the museum

13 April 2008

sunday night at the museum

Gallé and Japonisme

This exhibition presents works from the heyday of Japonisme. It focuses on works by Gallé showing distinct uses of motifs from Japanese ukiyo-e and crafts. It will also examine ways in which Japanese motifs were perceived and incorporated graphically into European crafts.

From the 1880s, Gallé's Japonisme began to shift away from external manifestations. While he continued to incorporate elements of Japanese art during this period, he attempted to fuse them with Western forms of expression. This segment presents Gallé's interest in the tactile sensibilities reflected in Japanese crafts, the Japanese eye for fleeting, precious living things, and the combination of painting and poetry elements he harmonized with modes of expression rooted in his own country.

Around 1900, Gallé's Japonisme deepened further, and had tremendous influence on establishing his original artistic approach. This exhibition looks at the ways in which the Japanese artistic concepts of deriving shapes from nature itself, exquisite composition, and mono no aware (sensitivity to things) were sublimated in Gallé. 1

Thursday 20 March to Sunday 11 May 2008


The National Gallery of Australia opens the exhibit Treescape through August 30. Trees are a strong element of our visual and tangible environment, making the tree a natural subject for artists to explore.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Pictorialist photo- graphers such as John Kauffmann (1864–1942) were influenced by the soft blurring effect of etching, creating atmospheric images of trees.

For many cultures the tree has spiritual significance, forming a metaphorical connection between the prosaic and the ethereal, the secular world and the heavenly world. Southeast Asian textiles often present images of spiritual trees in stylised form and give the textile the power to protect the wearer or observer during ceremonial activities. By incorporating these symbolic works, children are introduced to another function for art, where the object’s spiritual and religious significance is as important as it’s aesthetic appearance. 2

12 April – 30 August 2008

Japonisme in American Graphic Art, 1880–1920

Commodore Matthew Perry’s 1853–54 voyage to Japan not only reestablished diplomatic and mercantile relations between that country and the West for the first time since the seventeenth century, but also opened the floodgates for cultural exchanges that would profoundly affect Western art. In the ensuing decades, Japanese artifacts poured into Europe and America, appearing in exhibitions, import shops, and art collections, as well as in articles and books. Western artists began incorporating Japanese motifs, aesthetic principles, and techniques into their work—a phenomenon known by the French term “Japonisme.” This widespread fascination with Japanese objects dovetailed with late-nineteenth-century artistic developments, including the interest in foreign cultures as well as reformist impulses. Japanese art’s emphasis on beautiful design and hand-craftsmanship, for instance, resonated with the “art for art’s sake” philosophy advocated by the Aesthetic Movement as a remedy for the ills of modern industrial life. Progressive styles such as Impressionism also gained inspiration from Japanese prototypes in revitalizing Western pictorial traditions.

Japonisme in American explores the myriad manifestations of Japonisme in a selection of rarely seen American works on paper from the Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection. Concurrent with the so-called “Japan craze” in America was a renewed interest in graphic arts: as watercolor, pastel, etching, and other graphic media came to be appreciated for their artistry and expressivity, they also reflected the impact of Japanese art. Color woodcuts by late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century masters such Hiroshige, Hokusai, and Kuniyoshi were avidly collected in the West and served as particularly influential models of stylistic and technical innovation for American artists. (Examples of such prints are on view in the special exhibition Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770–1900, through June 15, 2008, and in the online exhibition Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.)

Inspired by their encounters with the arts of Japan, the artists featured adopted Japanese subjects and design elements, embraced Eastern aesthetic principles, and sometimes even traveled to Japan to study its cultural traditions firsthand. Their resulting works demonstrate the variety and breadth of Japanese influence on American graphic arts at the turn of the twentieth century. 3

April 16 through August 3, 2008
New York

(note: the images here are by the artists who will be featured in the exhibitions, but all individual items may not be included.)

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Blogger Princess Haiku said...

Dear Lotusgreen,
Is there such a thing as neoJapanisme? As Always your post fascinate. I have a new signature greeting.

Now where did that come from?

15 April, 2008 23:01  
Blogger Princess Haiku said...

I especially love the "treescape."

BTW: I am worried about the apple moth spray and what it will do to all 7 million of us.

15 April, 2008 23:03  
Anonymous harlequinpan said...

i really love the works of Émile Gallé,especially his drawing about life form,i also love the woodblock prints of Bertha Lum,they are so attractive.
i like your new photo,it's very "Art Nouveau".

16 April, 2008 01:22  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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