|Vincent van Gogh, "Bridge in the Rain, (after Hiroshige), 1887|
The fascination with Japanese works was given the name Japonisme (in French), and refers to not only fine art but also architecture, music, performance, dance and decorative art. Japan had been isolated from the outside world for two hundred years, its cultural path mostly hidden from the West, and of course not exporting its own arts. Japanese goods and art were known, but only in minuscule quantities, while western arts were known and studied by Japanese masters. In any event, the widespread availability of inexpensive Japanese prints on paper was a revelation.
|Mary Cassatt, "Woman Bathing," oil, 1890|
Even now, more than a century later, we study the works of ukiyo-e masters like Hiroshige, Hokusai, and Kesai Eisen, who was a contemporary. As I mentioned before about Hokusai, I've found the study of these works to be very productive, particularly the Hokusai Manga, the great compendium of woodcuts of the common people of Japan. His use of line is a wonderful study, alone. But add in his compositions, coloring, and humanity too.
|After Hokusai, "Saisoro," digital 2018|