Japanese Art Nouveau Essay

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Introduction

Japan existed in a state of self-imposted isolation by the Tokugawa dynasty between the seventeenth and mid-nineteenth centuries, with trade strictly controlled for the fear of foreign influence. After Japan finally opened its ports to international trade in the 1850s, there were many imported Japanese artworks to Europe and North America. New at that time in the West, these Japanese artworks became a subtle but major influence on national taste. This literature review examines how the novelty of Japanese art has been seen as a catalytic agent in the development of a new vision of Western art and design.

Art Nouveau: Influence on Nature, Colour, and Sex

One of the most important figures that was responsible for the popularity of Japonisme and the international stylistic movement of Art Nouveau was Siegfried Bing, a German art dealer based in Paris who brought in Japanese prints, ceramics, lacquer and other applied arts to the West. The name took reference from his art gallery and exhibition hall “La Maison de l 'Art Nouveau” (Style Art Nouveau) in 1895. In the introduction of The Art Nouveau
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Lionel Lambourne’s Japonisme, Cultural Crossings between Japan and the West, looked beyond the flat treatment of patterns on garments. He noted that the size of his poster, a tall upright format, was a reference to tall prints, hashira-e, commonly found in Japanese homes like a hanging scroll painting. His posters shares the same erotic content as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, a French printmaker and painter. In Siegfried Wichmann’s Japonisme (1999), he noted that Toulouse-Lautrec exploited, for the first time, “body language” to express individuals’ intimacy and a whole other mixture of emotion. Toulouse-Lautrec’s 1892 poster Reine de joie (Fig. 1) shares the same emotive body language that can be found in Katsushika Hokusai’s shunga, an erotica themed woodblock prints (Fig
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