Japanese and Western Art Influences

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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.

One Hundred Famous Views of Edo “Sudden Shower over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Atake”, Utagawa Hiroshige, 1857, From the collection of: Shizuoka city Tokaido Hiroshige Museum 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.
Bridge in the rain: after Hiroshige, Vincent van Gogh, October 1887 - November 1887, From the collection of: Van Gogh Museum
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.
At the Hotel Sommerard, Paris, KOIDE Narashige, 1922/1922, From the collection of: Mie Prefectural Art Museum
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.
View of Parisian Suburbs, Saeki Yuzo, 1924/1924, From the collection of: The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma
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.
Autumn Landscape, Kiyomizudera-Temple, Keichiro Kume, 1893, From the collection of: Nara Prefectural Museum
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 (inspired by Noh-Play), Shoen Uemura, 1915/1915, From the collection of: Shohaku Art Museum
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.
Woman Washing her Feet, Yasui Sotaro, 1913/1913, From the collection of: The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma
Yasui Sotaro also studied abroad in France and mastered the Western style of painting. He developed his own style characterized by decorative composition.
Courtesan: after Eisen, Vincent van Gogh, October 1887 - November 1887, From the collection of: Van Gogh Museum
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.
Self-Portrait, Ai-Mitsu, 1934/1934, From the collection of: Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art
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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This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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