Local, Cross-cultural, and Global: Japoniste Ceramics in Limoges

In: Journal of Japonisme
Sonia Coman Smithsonian Fellow, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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Ever since its inception Japonisme presented a creative tension between local traditions and cross-cultural practices. Adding to this formative relationship was the simultaneous development of Japonisme across Europe, the United States, and Japan itself. This paper focuses on one place of intersection – Limoges – and one medium – ceramics – to identify the local (Limoges’s rich ceramic history), the cross-cultural (French and Japanese influences), and the global (similar practices in other regions). A constellation of producers and collectors inextricably connected Limoges, a centuries-old hub of French ceramics, with the increasingly global realm of japoniste ceramics. How did the Limoges tradition blend with a Paris-based Japonisme in Limoges-produced japoniste ceramics? And what was the international reception of these ceramics? Cross-regional and cross-temporal emulation was a driving force bridging Japonisme with the latest experiments in the arts, from early abstractionism to revisions of hierarchies of genre and medium.

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