Hokusai and Japonisme

Monet, Van Gogh and Cézanne under the influence of Japanese culture



葛飾北齋所作的浮世繪的敘事內容、與別不同的透視方法、鮮艷的色彩運用等等,對於當時對嶄新創作風格極為渴求的歐洲藝術家帶來重大的衝擊。Van Gogh、Edouard Manet都深受影響,法國畫家Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec那完全放棄立體的表現手法,也是從葛飾北齋的作品中學習到的方法。

東京上野公園的國立西洋美術館,而正舉辦「北齋與日本主義」的展覽,展出莫內、Edgar Degas 及 Paul Cézanne等大師作品,與北齋的作品並列,讓參觀者能深入感受到文化的互動與流向。展期明年1月28日。

The monumental influence Japanese arts have created on the international stage, also known as Japonisme, actually began with a piece of wrapping paper.

During the Edo period, Japan was almost completely isolated from the world. As the only country that was allowed to import handicraft from Japan back in the days, the Netherlands shipped a substantial amount of lacquerware and pottery out of Japan. Ukiyo-e was not only commonly used on advertisement prints in Japan, it was also used in printing wrapping paper, which was also shipped to the Netherlands and obtained by the European artists and collectors. As Japan ended its seclusion policy during the Meiji period, the world finally had a chance to learn about the island country’s culture. The Japanese handicraft exhibited in 1862 Great London Exposition easily gained huge interests from the European artists; Japanese style cloth and furniture have also gained an international market since then. There were numerous art and culture related items that were shipped overseas, among which ukiyo-e was undoubtedly the most influential work of all. When talking about ukiyo-e, Katsushika Hokusai is easily the most iconic figure.

Katsushika Hokusai had his distinctive style in narrating a story. One can easily recognize his work from the perspective and the vivid colors. His unique and ingenious style of art has swept the world, even famous artists like Van Gogh and Edouard Manet were greatly influenced by Hokusai. The intentional flat perspective in Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s works was also inspired by Hokusai.

The National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo Ueno Park is currently hosting a Hokusai and Japonisme exhibition that displays works of the great artists including Monet, Edgar Degas, and Paul Cézanne. Putting these works side by side with Hokusai’s, the viewers can have a more in-depth interpretation of the interaction between Japanese and European arts. The exhibition will last until January 28, 2018.