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“Japonism” : An Aspect of Japanese Cultural Values



 – Fusion of the East and the West – 

Japonism (Japonisme in French) is a term for an interest in and an appreciation for Japanese arts that appeared in Europe in late 19th century.

As an impact of Japonism was already noticeable in 1870s in the French art world in particular, the word “japonisme” was firstly appeared in the French dictionary in 1876.

There are a large number of artists who were influenced by Japanese art including Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Manet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, James McNeill Whistler, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin and Gustav Klimt.

Japonism significantly influenced not only painters but also writers and poets. 

Japonism is definitely one of Japanese Cultural Values.

The first stage of Japonism started from the enthusiastic collection of Japanese works of art, particularly ukiyoe woodblock prints.

Although Japonism was triggered by Orientalism, it was not merely a fleeting trend.

Japonism was not only a trend but also the beginning of a worldwide art movement that was to continue for nearly a century.

At that time when Japonism enjoyed popularity, artists in Western countries had a great interest in the irregularity and asymmetry of Japan art.

As a result of Japonism, Japanese elements came to be incorporated into the later graphic design of all crafts ranging from furniture and clothing to jewelry in Europe.


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