The Japanese Painter Who Influenced Cézanne

Hokusai Katsushika


北齋的作畫方式非常獨特,其最著名的作品《富嶽三十六景》,展示了從不同角度看到的富士山風景。然而,若你實地到訪,嘗試找尋風景所在時,便會發現它們全都非真實的。它們是北齊將搜集回來的風景碎片,重塑而成的景像。北齋的作風對西方畫家的影響極深,像法國家印象汦派畫家Henri Rivière及Paul Cézanne,便以類似的手法,分別完成的一系列以巴黎鐵塔及聖維克多山為主題的作品。其中Henri Rivière的系列,更直接定名為《巴黎鐵塔三十六景》。


The intertwining relationship ukiyo-e has with impressionism is to me one of the most fascinating episodes of Japanese art history. Along with the export of Japanese pottery, ukiyo-e also became known to Europe during the mid-nineteenth-century. Europeans of the time first saw ukiyo-e on the printing of the wrapping paper. Regardless of how humbly subtle its presence was, the magnificence of this style of art was not concealed. This is the very same story of how Hokusai Katsushika’s work entered and amazed the western society.

Hokusai had a very distinguished style; his most well known series of work Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji depicts Mount Fuji from different angles. Surprisingly none of these sceneries exists in the real world. They are all fragments of sceneries collected and then reconstructed by Hokusai, and this style eventually casted a heavy influence upon the work of European artists. Similar approach of painting can be found in the works of impressionist artists like Henri Rivière and Paul Cézanne. Traces of Hokusai’s style can easily be found in Paul Cézanne’s Montagne Sainte-Victoire; Rivière even named his series Les 36 vues de la Tour Eiffel.

It has been almost 170 years since Hokusai’s death. His works are still as enchanting as they first appeared. In late November 2016, Hokusai Museum was opened in Sumida-ku, Tokyo. Apart from showing Hokusai’s works, the museum as well recreated his studio so as to give audience an extra angle to understand this phenomenal artist.