Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Great Wave

Colta Feller Ives - The Great Wave: The Influence of Japanese Woodcuts on French Prints (1974)

Metropolitan Museum link

Perry's contact with Japan in 1853 started (though slowly) a wave of interest in that country that flowed over Western artists as much as anybody and to some degree is still ongoing.  This heavily illustrated book looks at how Japanese work was used by several French artists including Toulouse-Lautrec, Manet, Degas, Gaugin and Cassatt (though an American she lived most of her life in France).  The Goncourts were a key factor as collectors and organizers, appearing Zelig-like in many places (literary influence of Japan has been far more diffuse due to the necessity of translation).