Japonisme: The Japanese Influence on Western Art Since 1858

Siegfried Wichmann




Thames & Hudson

Publication Date:




Japan's impact on Western art was as immediate and almost as cataclysmic as the influence of the West on Japanese life. After Commodore Perry opened Japan's door to the outside world in 1858 -- ending a 200-year period of total isolation -- a wealth of visual information from the superb Japanese traditions of ceramics, metalwork, and architecture, as well as print-making and painting, reached the West and brought electrifying new ideas on composition, color, and design. One has only to see a celebrated painting by Monet, Degas, Whistler, or van Gogh, an Art Nouveau glass vase, or a lacquered hair comb side by side with its Japanese source to see how those ideas have inspired artists. Nor is the influence a superficial one: Japanese conventions of symbolism underlie the use of decorative motifs in European Symbolism and Art Nouveau, and the Zen idea of spontaneity is the ultimate source of both the apparently capricious shapes of Art Nouveau ware and the development of an abstract "calligraphy" in Abstract Expressionism. Siegfried Wichmann, the acknowledged expert on Japonisme, surrounds his breathtaking illustrations with a text that, in marshaling a wealth of detail, encapsulates the present state of research and opens up new lines of enquiry.

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Other editions: 2002, Hardcover - 2002, Hardcover - 2000, 1991, 1990, Hardcover - 1988, 1988, Hardcover - 1986, 1985, 1985

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