japonisme: seeing softly

10 August 2008

seeing softly

john henry twachtman and peter henry emerson both worked in the same time period, the 1880s and 90s. twachtman was an american, and emerson, though born in cuba, spent his life in england.

emerson is said to have been the first photographer to insist that film, beyond its documentary potential,
was an appropriate tool for making art as well.

in these positions, he became well-known, and stieglitz credited him as being his first important influence.

twachtman was a painter, often of the landscapes near his home in connecticut, though he travelled in europe and lived for a bit in paris.

so how does one discuss the wonderful similarities in their work, and, not to put to sharp a point on it, that too of hiroshige? quite simply: both were tremendously influenced by whistler, and, obviously, by whistler's own inspiration -- the japanese prints.

both were known to appreciate the tonal subtlety and asymmetry of the prints; additionally, stark composition, flattened spaces, and japanese-like embellishments were employed by both.

both felt that by fashioning familiar places with unfamiliar elements increased one's consciousness of the place, and perhaps revealed elements inside what meets the eye.

see twactman's work in context until october 19 at the clark (and read more here and here), and see emerson's work in context until september 8 at the mia (and online here).

and then while you're at it, go to the met to see the turner show and wonder how the man could have been so prescient having died several years before any black ships appeared in the edo harbor.

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Blogger PIGNOUF said...

Bravo pour vos efforts de mise en page :)

11 August, 2008 01:08  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you so much, pignouf! you understand!

11 August, 2008 08:21  
Anonymous rochambeau said...

Dear Japonisme,
Your blog is beautiful. I do so appreciate your passion!
Thank you for the beauty you add to the blogosphere.

You look nice in that blue babushka.


13 August, 2008 05:03  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you constance. it's so nice to see you here.

i wish i were not at all desirous of comments, but try as i might to remind myself that this, like cleaning my house or pruning my garden, i do for myself, and if there are visitors, well then lovely.

i do do this for the love of doing it, yes. but somehow all the self-reminders never wholly work.

and i also know that it can be easier to respond to, like, a personal blog, or a political blog, etc. but......


13 August, 2008 12:46  
Blogger Roxana said...

I wish there were more blogs like yours... and these pictures are dazzling...

13 August, 2008 14:24  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks sweetie--me too

13 August, 2008 15:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to let you know how much your work influences me. I love to look every day to see what is new. And if not new to reread and get deeper into the words and images

14 August, 2008 09:18  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you dorothy. that kind of reframes the whole thing, doesn't it....

i'm delighted to read that

and find it a delicious irony that i just found your commant *after* leaving one for you!

14 August, 2008 09:45  

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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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