When Van Gogh dreamed of Japan

18 Jan 2013 - Art Movements, Arts, Exhibitions

The Pinacoteca of Paris offers us until March 17, two exhibitions coupled: Hiroshige, The Art of Travel and Van Gogh, Dreams of Japan, highlighting how this Japanese art of printmaking and in particular that of the master Utagawa Hiroshige influenced Van Gogh in his creation.
It is difficult to imagine in 2012, in the era of Internet and unlimited access to the information available in the world, how could be upsetting for the French Impressionists, and Van Gogh in particular, the discovery of a radically new representation proposed by these Japanese prints. A photographic framing with off-center subjects or zoom on the foreground figures, bold colors with blue, red, yellow, importance given to landscape and nature, series representations depending on the season or time of the day, moving figures in postures of daily living (running under the rain, for example), many innovations that inspired Van Gogh when he discovered them during the late nineteenth century in Antwerp and at the Parisian art dealer Bing, a great admirer and promoter of “Japonism” which influenced the Impressionists (Monet, Manet, …) and Art Nouveau in the early twentieth century.
Both exhibitions, see successively Hiroshige first and second Van Gogh, were designed quite remarkable to show us the specifics of prints of a great master on the one hand and the influence they had on a Van Gogh in search of exoticism. Colors, compositions, topics, framing, were transformed by Van Gogh in the south of France, in Saint Rémy de Provence, inspired by this dreamed Japan (see our picture above the Olive groves fromVan Gogh and the image at the bottom of the article Pines in Sea Side by Hiroshige).


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