Japan has always had a great impact on Western art, and it still has its impact. Artists have used any spheres of Japanese art, including old traditions and modern manga. This article will look at how Japanese art impacts Western artists.
Japonisme Used by Impressionism Artists
The Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet and Under Mannen Bridge at Fukagawa by Katsushika Hokusai
In 1853, there was a great interest in Japanese culture and art due to the Japanese trade with the West that happened in 1853. One of the new traditions introduced by Japanese art was ukiyo-e woodblock prints made on artwork canvas. Some of them were painting large artworks that followed the Orientalism approach. The use of Japanese art by Western artists has got the name Japonism. In 1853, Japan got into trade relations with Europe and presented its new products and art to the world. The first person who used the term was a collector from France whose name was Philippe Burty. The presentation of ukiyo-e prints came from the district in Tokyo called Edo. There were a number of representations depicted in the prints, such as erotic scenes, theatre actors, and bright landscapes. The most popular artists who created ukiyo-e prints included Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Hiroshige, and Kitagawa Utamaro.
The Topic for DiscussionThere were a lot of artists who followed impressionism and used Japanese traditions in their artworks. For example, they included Edgar Degas, James Tossot, and Claude Monet. Some of them presented the literal meaning of Japanese artworks. Others followed a more diverse approach. For example, some literally described the Japanese landscapes, while others presented the traditions of impressionism.
The Coiffure by Mary Cassatt and Takashima Ohisa Using Two Mirrors to Observe Her Coiffure by Kitagawa Utamaro
There were also a lot of artists who did not follow Japanese traditions, for example, Mary Cassatt, who only followed the Japanese oversize painting style. Some artworks presented one object or person from different perspectives and showed certain Japanese traits in women and men. For example, Mary Cassatt’s main figures in Japanese texture wall art paintings were women and children, created in the Japanese style. She mainly used flat colors and lines in her office decor paintings. For example, she used these tools in her “The Coiffure” artwork. This artwork presents a woman who is brushing her hair, and this is a representation of Kitagawa Utamaro’s painting. At the same time, the artist named Edgar Degas is the one who followed the tradition of the Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige. These artworks presented naked women doing something with their toilette, which is part of the Japanese style.
Post-Impressionism ArtistsVincent Van Gogh is one post-impressionism artist who followed Japanese art traditions in his works. He used ukiyo-e prints as his inspiration when painting bright landscapes. He even moved to Arles in France to get new inspiration from France paintings that used the Japanese style in their artworks.
The Art Nouveau Movement
Adele Bloch-Bauer I
As a result of the Art Nouveau movement, there was another artist who liked ukiyo-e prints, who was Gustav Klimt. The influence of Japanese art can be seen in his work, where he presents Japanese patterns and bright colors. He also was a fan of the Rinpa School of Kyoto.