Japonisme

At the end of the 19th Century, Impressionism was greatly influenced by Japanese art, creating a unique style that we now know as 'Japonisme'. Here we look at some of our favourite PE artworks that follow this unique aesthetic.

Flowing outlines, simplified forms, flat two-dimensional figures, domestic or nature scenes, and asymmetrical compositions are some of the many aesthetic traits artist like Degas, Monet, Cassatt, Gauguin, and Van Gogh started incorporating into their own practice. 

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About Japonisme

When Japanese ports reopened trade with the West in 1853, the Japanese art and design philosophy quickly became fashionable. This craze was coined by Philippe Burty after the Paris World Fair of 1867. 

As Japan had been closed off since 1600, this new form of art caused a wave of excitement, especially among French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists who absorbed these qualities.

Artworks featured:
-The Water Lily Pond by Claude Money, 1899
-Still Life with Head‑Shaped Vase and Japanese Woodcut by Paul Gauguin, 1889
-Three Figures: Pink and Grey by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1868-78
-Portrait of Pere Tanguy by Vincent van Gogh, 1887
-Nu Se Coiffant Au Bord De l'Etang by Paul Elie Ranson

"And we wouldn’t be able to study Japanese art, it seems to me, without becoming much happier and more cheerful, and it makes us return to nature, despite our education and our work in a world of convention." - Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother Theo, September 1888.

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