Japanese and Western Art Influences

In 1854, the Convention of Kanagawa allowed for trade between Japan and the West. Artists like Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh began to collect ukiyo-e prints, or woodblock prints. Western art commonly utilizes the illusion of having three-dimensional space, while Japanese art focuses more on bold outlines and flat regions of color. The medium for Asian art is commonly thin rice paper or woodblocks while Western paintings are usually oil on canvas. At the end of the 19th century, Impressionism was greatly influenced by Japanese art. Japanese prints are characterized by elaborate patterns, communal subject matter, unusual perspectives and lack of chiaroscuro or depth. Japanese artists such as Koide Narashige, Hazama Inosuke and Hayashi Shizue spent time in Paris and picked up Western techniques and theories of art.

This ukiyo-e print is considered one of Hiroshige's great masterpieces and was copied by van Gogh in oil. It depicts pedestrians crossing a bridge in the midst of a rainstorm.
van Gogh recreates Hiroshige's work by modifying the colors to deeper tones and contrasts. He also adds borders and calligraphic characters to frame the piece.
Koide Narashige painted this using oil on canvas after his stay in a Parisian hotel. Its bleak atmosphere, crooked lines and muted colors emphasize his loneliness during his stay in France.
Saeki Yuzo is known for his work in Fauvist Expressionism. He moved to Paris and often painted landscape portraits like this, which show Impressionist influences.
Keichiro Kume studied abroad in Paris and carried with him Impressionist influences. In this painting, Kume uses soft colors, thin brush strokes, and an unusual angle.
Flower Basket is a portrait of a woman on woodblock print inspired by the traditional Noh drama. Uemura uses an older/traditional painting style: thin outlines and flat dimensions.
Yasui Sotaro also studied abroad in France and mastered the Western style of painting. He developed his own style characterized by decorative composition.
This piece shows van Gogh's interest in Japanese artwork and is influenced by Kesai Eisen. van Gogh utilizes vibrant colors and symbolic motifs to frame the piece.
This caricature-like self portrait provides a contrast to the Western/Impressionist influenced paintings. It is considered avant-garde and the (male) painter is wearing western-style women's clothing.
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