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Discussion on Japan’s legacy in painting


​​Mary Cassatt (1844 - 1926), The Letter, 1890-1891
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

​The department of History is pleased to present Dr. Eric Weichel, assistant professor of art history and visual studies, for a special lecture, titled Japanisme: The Love of Japan in Impressionist and Symbolist Painting, on Friday, November 4, at 2:30 p.m. in room A252.

Here’s an abstract:

The “discovery” of Japanese visual culture among leading 19th-century cultural figures in Europe and America forever changed notions of art historical “quality” in the west: Japanese ceramics, prints, paintings, textiles, and folk ephemera became sources of major inspiration for western painters, leading to frequent acts of cross-cultural, transnational interaction. In this lecture, we explore the legacy of Japan among the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters of late 19th-century France, Belgium, and Scandinavia; we also study Van Gogh and Gauguin’s use of distinctively Japanese aesthetics, Cassatt’s interpretation of maternal themes found in ukiyo-e woodblock printing, Rinpa landscape screens and their appearance in portraiture by Renoir and Monet, pieces from the popular ‘Japanomania in the North 1875– 1918’ exhibition in Oslo, and recent controversies surrounding claims of cultural appropriation at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

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