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Series:

Ron P. Toby

In Engaging the Other: “Japan and Its Alter-Egos”, 1550-1850 Ronald P. Toby examines new discourses of identity and difference in early modern Japan, a discourse catalyzed by the “Iberian irruption,” the appearance of Portuguese and other new, radical others in the sixteenth century. The encounter with peoples and countries unimagined in earlier discourse provoked an identity crisis, a paradigm shift from a view of the world as comprising only “three countries” ( sangoku), i.e., Japan, China and India, to a world of “myriad countries” ( bankoku) and peoples. In order to understand the new radical alterities, the Japanese were forced to establish new parameters of difference from familiar, proximate others, i.e., China, Korea and Ryukyu. Toby examines their articulation in literature, visual and performing arts, law, and customs.
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Laurens d’Albis and Gabriel P. Weisberg

Abstract

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.

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Shirakaba and Japanese Modernism

Art Magazines, Artistic Collectives, and the Early Avant-garde

Erin Schoneveld

Shirakaba and Japanese Modernism examines the most significant Japanese art and literary magazine of the early twentieth century, Shirakaba (White Birch, 1910–1923). In this volume Erin Schoneveld explores the fluid relationship that existed between different types of modern visual media, exhibition formats, and artistic practices embraced by the Shirakaba-ha (White Birch Society). Schoneveld provides a new comparative framework for understanding how the avant-garde pursuit of individuality during Japan’s Taishō period stood in opposition to state-sponsored modernism and how this played out in the emerging media of art magazines. This book analyzes key moments in modern Japanese art and intellectual history by focusing on the artists most closely affiliated with Shirakaba, including Takamura Kōtarō, Umehara Ryūzaburō, and Kishida Ryūsei, who selectively engaged with and transformed modernist idioms of individualism and self-expression to create a new artistic style that gave visual form to their own subjective reality. Drawing upon archival research that includes numerous articles, images, and exhibitions reviews from Shirakaba, as well as a complete translation of Yanagi Sōetsu’s seminal essay, “The Revolutionary Artist” ( Kakumei no gaka), Schoneveld demonstrates that, contrary to the received narrative that posits Japanese modernism as merely derivative, the debate around modernism among Japan’s early avant-garde was lively, contested, and self-reflexive.
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Markéta Hánová

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

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Exhibition: Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered


Washington D.C., Freer Gallery of Art, April 8 – July 9, 2017.


Annika K. Johnson

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“The Most Passionate of All”


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.