Japonisme and the Rise of the Modern Art Movement

The Arts of the Meiji Period

  1. Written and edited by Gregory Irvine
  • ISBN 9780500239131
  • 33.50 x 24.00 cm
  • Hardback
  • 240pp
  • With 220 illustrations in colour and black and white
  • First published 2013

From the 1860s through to the 1890s the rise of Japonisme and the Art Nouveau movement meant few could resist the obsession with all things Japanese

‘In a way all my work is founded on Japanese art …’ Vincent van Gogh

‘A persuasive, sumptuous exploration of Japanese influence on western modernism. Whistler and Van Gogh were famously indebted to oriental models; pairings of paintings by Monet, Manet and Degas with Japanese works, and discussions of gold-adorned Klimt and sexy Schiele, are revelatory’ – Jackie Wullschlager, Financial Times Books of the Year 2013
‘Invaluable for anyone with an interest in late-19th-century European art and culture’– Country Life
‘In-depth essays and superb colour illustrations’ – Ceramic Review
'If art books were nominated for annual awards … then 'Japonisme and the Rise of the Modern Art Movement' would definitely be a front-runner in the 'most beautiful book category for 2013' – Edward Voves, Art Eyewitness

Japonisme and the Rise of the Modern Art Movement

Here, six renowned scholars and specialists examine the influence of Japanese art and design in Europe with superlative examples from the Khalili Collection, the world’s finest collection of works from the Meiji period. They demonstrate that the Japanese influence on modern Western art has been far more penetrating than has been widely recognized.

Superbly crafted and often highly decorated Japanese objects – lacquer, metalwork, ceramics, enamels and other decorative items rich in new and exotic subject matter – stimulated and inspired Western artists and craftsmen to produce their own works. Arts of the Meiji period (1868–1912) were displayed at international exhibitions, in the galleries of influential dealers and at fashionable stores 
in London, Paris and Vienna.

Artists including Van Gogh, Whistler, Monet, Manet, Klimt and Schiele were all, to varying degrees, influenced by the arts of Japan. Van Gogh himself stated that he owed his inspiration to Japanese art, but he was probably not conscious of the full extent to which art in Europe had already been greatly influenced by that of Japan.

Gregory Irvine is Senior Curator in the Asian department of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He has published widely on many aspects of Japanese art, and has held senior teaching positions both in the UK and Japan.

Tayfun Belgin, Director of the Osthaus Museum, Hagen, Germany
John House, former Emeritus Professor, Courtauld Institute, London
Axel Rüger, Director of the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Kris Schiermeier, Director of the Japan Museum SieboldHuis, Leiden, the Netherlands
Hiroko Yokomizo, Associate Professor (Curator), Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music