Laurens d’Albis and Gabriel P. Weisberg
Among major political, economic and intellectual conflicts, a genuine revolution took place in the applied arts during twenty years of the second half of the nineteenth century, notably in French tableware. The discovery of Japanese art coupled with the noticeable pursuit of artistic freedom sparkled intense experimentation and amazing creativity in the production of objects able to meet the wishes of a changing public. After dealing with the concept of Japonisme, this essay proposes to examine what happened within the French manufacture of faience and porcelain between 1866 and 1886.
Prague-born painter and graphic artist Emil Orlik (1870-1932) made his first visit to Japan in 1900 to get acquainted with the woodblock printing technique as well as everyday life there. During his stay, he not only created ink drawings, watercolors, pastels, and gouaches, but also took the opportunity to collect Japanese art, including ukiyo-e prints. These were eventually included in an exhibition in 1902, which traveled to Brno and Prague after its premiere in Dresden and Berlin. Besides promoting a broader awareness of Japan and its traditional culture to Prague and its artistic milieu, the exhibition also testified to Orlik´s discernment as a collector.1
Washington D.C., Freer Gallery of Art, April 8 – July 9, 2017.
Annika K. Johnson
Henri Vever and Japonisme in fin-de-siècle France
Willa Z. Silverman
Known primarily as a jeweler in the vanguard of Art nouveau and an important collector of the Impressionists, Henri Vever (1854-1942), as his private diaries make clear, was also a foremost connoisseur of Japanese art in fin-de-siècle France, “the most passionate of all,” to Edmond de Goncourt. Well-connected to networks of dealers, museum officials, publications, and sites of sociability such as the dîners japonais, Vever figures among the most prominent members of a second wave of Parisian enthusiasts of Japanese art, active from approximately 1880 to 1900. Under the tutelage of the Japanese art dealers Hayashi Tadamasa and Siegfried Bing and the fine art printer Charles Gillot, Vever constituted a renowned collection of not only Japanese prints but also other art objects previously disregarded by collectors. Vever’s multiple and intersecting identities as luxury craft producer, leading member of professional associations, art historian and critic, collector, and Republican mayor placed him at the forefront of efforts to legitimate the collection and appreciation of Japanese art in France. His diaries also underscore the connections between the worlds of Japanese and Impressionist art collectors, and between proponents of japonisme and Art nouveau. Further, they highlight the importance of the 1900 Paris Exposition universelle as a triumphant moment for japonisme in France, just as they signal the shift on the part of some japonisants, at the same time, from Japanese art towards the decorative arts of the Islamic world.
This essay examines the role of Shirakaba (White Birch, 1910-1923) as an art magazine that aspired to create new audiences and foster the exchange of ideas by providing an alternate space to address diverse views about modern art, literature, theory, and identity. In addition to introducing European modernism to Japan through the writings of western artists, authors, and thinkers, Shirakaba created access to and direct exchange of artwork with a number of artists such as Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), Heinrich Vogeler (1872-1942), Max Klinger (1857-1920), and Bernard Leach (1887-1979). Among these, Shirakaba’s transnational dialogue with the French sculptor Auguste Rodin was the most significant. I argue that Shirakaba’s discourse with Rodin not only facilitated new forums for the public access and display of modern art in Japan, but also was emblematic of its humanist ideology rooted in artistic subjectivity and self-expression.