japonisme: 4/27/08 - 5/4/08

30 April 2008


Way down in the congo land sitting in a coconut tree,
there was a monkey and a chimp--and Lordy how she loved him.
Everynight in the pale moonlight sitting in the coconut tree,
these love words she always said to he...

" Abba dabba dabba dabbadabba dabba dabba"
said the monkey to the chimp.
" Abba dabba dabba dabbadabba dabba dabba"
said the chimpee to the monk.
All night long they chattered away.
All day long they were happy and gay,
swinging and swaying in a honky, tonky way.

"Abba dabba dabba dabba dabba dabbadabba"
said the chimp, "I love but you."
Abba dabba dabba in monkey talk means
"Chimp, I love you too."
Then the ol' baboon, one night in June,
married them and very soon,
they sailed away on an abba dabba honeymoon.

Words & Music by Arthur Fields & Walter Donovan (1903)
Recorded by Debbie Reynolds, 1951
From the 1950 movie "Two Weeks In Love."

(i want to talk about something that has been really difficult for me to deal with for a number of months. there's this other person who from the day they started their blog has been 'borrowing' from my blog. at one point i counted, and they had lifted or duplicated over thirty images and their topics in about a four-month period.

when i finally said something, they never responded, but removed a few of the images, and pretty much stopped doing it. until this month when it has started again. i'm not saying that more than one person can be interested in similar things. i'm saying when the same images are used within a week or so over and over and over, it feels like a real invasion.

the last number of posts i'm not even sure that they are repeats of images, but i am so over-stressed about this person at this point that even the repeat coverage of a topic shortly after i have covered it feels like the same kind of theft.

online blogger friends have agreed that this is such bad blogging form, but i could really use some more support if you have got any. i find myself wondering who this person thinks that i am--some kind of wikipedia? no i'm a single retired woman who has been interested in this subject for like 35 years, have written about it many times, has amassed a broad library on the subject, and who spends many hours every day doing research, and then combining everything, and then making it look good on blogger.

please share any support, thoughts, ideas, or suggestions with me.

thank you,



27 April 2008

tis a gift

When the Japanese ports were opened to Europe in the nineteenth century, the Ukiyo-e prints gave the western world "a glimpse of Japanese life" and became, with their “simplicity of line and large flat areas of colour, a major influence on the more innovative European painters.” 1

The influence of Japanese art on western painters is known as ‘Japonisme’. This is not to be confused with ‘Japonaiserie’ which is the western interest in the exotic, decorative, or fantastic qualities of Japanese art for their novelty value. 2

Japonisme is not a style. According to Wichmann, “it does not lend itself to being used as a concept in place of a style; and it cannot be pinned down to a specific period.” It is rather, the influence of the (then) new ways of seeing the world that the Ukiyo-e prints, and then the Japanese paintings provided.

It caused a “decisive re-evaluation” in the ways western painters had been looking at the world. 3

The influence of Japanese art was not restricted to just ‘simplicity of line and large flat areas of colour’ but was also manifest in the other artistic ‘devices’ that provided unfamiliar solutions to ways of seeing and representing space and forms and how they relate to the apparent world.

(As Chisaburo cautions: “it is often very difficult to determine in what respect and how far Japanese influence extended”, and…“it is sometimes difficult to be persuaded of a Japanese source when an equally good and more accessible European one is at hand.”

However, as Henry Moore says, “I suppose everything which one appreciates must have some influence even though one isn’t (always) aware of it.” 2

Shore W. Ukiyo-e, Castle, New Jersey, 1980. 1
Chisaburo, Y. Japonisme in Art - An International Symposium,
Committee for the Year 2000, Tokyo, 1980.
Wichmann S. Japonisme, Harmony Books, New York, 1981. 3

from Virginia Hodgkinson's master's thesis (pdfs).

here's my process as a hunter gatherer, spending all day searching for images, then squirreling them away into intimately labeled folders. these were in the 'simplies' folder. the west entered the wonderful stage of extraordinarily simple images as part of their enchantment with the un-victorian, un-rococo, un-ungepatched japanese work. when i saw the blue bicycle, i knew it was time for the simplies folder.


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