A new exhibition on “Japonism” has opened at the Setagaya Museum of Art located in Tokyo.
The term, originating in France, is used widely to describe the effect Japanese art had on European artistic movements.
During 1848 to 1854, foreign merchant ships of various nationalities began to visit Japan.
In 1868, Japan ended a long period of national isolation and began to import goods from the West, including photography and printing techniques. In turn, a lot of Japanese things like textile, ceramics, and woodblock prints came to Europe and America.
Utagawa Hiroshige is a Japanese traditional artist known for his woodblock “Ukiyoe” prints. His art is part of the exhibition’s first section. Hiroshige created famous prints such as the “One Hundred Famous View of EDO” that are now located in museums around the world.
This print is only one of the hundred woodblock prints created by Utagawa Hiroshige. It depicts Mt. Fuji located in Edo. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
His art inspired western artists such as Monet and Vincent van Gogh. Monet, who was a founder of French impressionist painting in 1870s, built a Japanese-style water-lily pond in his garden at Giverny and drew his wife, Camille, dressed in a kimono. Gogh, who was a Dutch painter in 1880s, often copied Ukiyoe-style in his workds.
In the other sections at the museum the curators have displayed art displaying women and how European artists used Japanese influence to help capture the look of the home cities.
The exhibition, titled “Looking East: Western Artist and the Allure of Japan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston”, will be held at the Setagaya Art Museum until September 15th, 10a.m.-6p.m. 1,500 yen. Closed Monday.