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Japonaiserie or Japonisme

Related: art - Japan - Samuel Bing - art nouveau

Detail of Vincent Van Gogh's Bridge in Rain, an 1887 painting fashioned after a 1857 woodcut by Japanese printmaker Hiroshige. [Sept 2006]


Japonism (in French Japonisme) is the term defining the relationship between the arts of Japan and Western civilisation. Japonaiserie marks a lower level of this meeting of civilisations, the direct transfer of principles of Japanese art on Western, primarily by French artists. Works originating from this source are corectly called japonesque.

While American intellectuals maintained that Edo prints were a vulgar art form, unique to the period and distinct from the refined, religious, national heritage of Japan known as Yamato-e (pictures from the Yamato period, e.g. Zen masters Sesshu and Shubun), ukiyo-e, Japanese wood-block prints, became a source of inspiration for Art Nouveau, cubism and many impressionist painters in France. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japonism [Sept 2006]


The genuine contact between the West and Japan started after the arrival in Japan of the American Commodore Perry in 1853, which brought about the end of Japan's period of isolation" (Ono 2). This contact initiated an assimilation of Japanese styles by European artists and artisans, particularly in the areas of design and construction, which ultimately molded and directed the progression of the Aesthetic Movement as a whole. This assimilation, referred to as Japonisme or Japonaiserie by the French, "paved the way for a whole new philosophy of art and design, which led naturally to an ultimate pursuit of abstraction, while in England the same style was gradually submerged beneath the pseudo medievalism of the Arts and Crafts movement" --Jessica Simmons '07, English and History of Art 151, Brown University, 2004 http://www.victorianweb.org/art/design/simmons10.html [Mar 2005]

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