Fascination Japan: Monet. Van Gogh. Klimt.

Exhibition on show from 10 October 2018 to 20 January 2019 in the exhibition building on Freyung in Vienna.

Alfred Stevens, Die japanische Pariserin, 1872, Öl auf Leinwand, 150 x 105 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts de La Boverie, Lüttich © Musée des Beaux-Arts de La Boverie, Lüttich

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“This isn’t fashion, it’s passion, it’s madness” – thus did the French critic Ernest Chesneau characterise the mania of the Western public for the extravagant vases, lacquered boxes, fabrics and colour woodcuts that had arrived from the Far East and were on display at the 1878 World Exhibition in Paris.

Owing to pressure from the USA, Japan, after centuries of self-elected isolation, had in 1854 re-opened its ports for trade with the West; reformers in Japan moreover urged a presentation of the “new Japan” in the West, and the world exhibitions of 1867 and 1878 in Paris and in 1873 in Vienna offered eagerly taken opportunities as its platforms. Now, the elegant and exotic everyday objects, the exquisite textiles and most of all the brilliantly imaginative ukiyo-e – the colour woodcuts – rapidly conquered the European market and fulfilled the public’s craving for a foreign and unknown culture and a new kind of aesthetic.

more Fascination Japan: Monet. Van Gogh. Klimt.

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