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JAPONISME – The Fascination for Japanese Art

July 31, 2013

japonismeStarting in the mid-nineteenth century, Japanese art became very appealing to and influential on the West. Known as Japonisme, this fascination represents one of the richest and most productive artistic and cultural phenomena in the relationship between East and West.

The reopening of Japanese ports in the 1860s marked the birth of Japonisme, which eventually became one of the most important and essential elements of artistic modernity in Europe during the latter half of the 1800s. Japonisme went far beyond a simple, superficial interpretation based on the popularity of exotic forms and orientalist themes. Not only did it provide subjects, motifs, compositions, techniques and formats, but ultimately it offered a poetic imagination and a vision of art that revolutionised taste. In doing so, it revealed a whole new world of ideas, formal elements and colours to draw inspiration from and reinvent Western art during the second half of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century.

This exhibition, in addition to being the first in Spain dedicated specifically to the international phenomenon of Japonisme, is also the first to examine how the European fascination for Japanese art and culture took root in the country, particularly in Catalonia. The 300 pieces on display, many of which are being exhibited here for the very first time, reveal a history of discoveries and exchange, with origins that date back more than 400 years to the arrival of the first missionaries during the Namban period. The exhibition coincides with the 400th anniversary of the diplomatic mission sent to Spain and Italy by Date Masamune, and the idea grew out of the desire to provide the spectator with the keys to knowing and understanding the exciting, cultural ties that resulted from the continuous exploration of Japan. The selected works are evidence of a shared fascination; evidence of the discovery of an art, an aesthetic, a culture and a vision of the world that seemed far removed, but which captivated turn-of-the-century artists and entered into dialogue —incredibly rich dialogue— with the society of an entire era.

Where: CaixaForum: Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 6-8, 08038 Barcelona
Timetable: Exhibition open until 15th of September from Monday to Sunday from 10am to 8pm
Tickets: Adult 4€, children under 16 years old – free, clinents of LaCaixa – free

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