Sponsored Links

Influence of Japanese art on Van Gogh

Japonaiserie (English: Japanesery) was the term the Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh used to express the influence of Japanese art.

Before 1854 trade with Japan was confined to a Dutch monopoly and Japanese goods imported into Europe were for the most part confined to porcelain and lacquer ware. The Convention of Kanagawa put an end to the 200 year old Japanese foreign policy of Seclusion and opened up trade between Japan and the West.

Artists such as Manet, Edgar Degas and Monet, followed by Van Gogh, began to collect the cheap colour wood-block prints called ukiyo-e prints. For a while Vincent and his brother Theo dealt in these prints and they eventually amassed hundreds of them (now housed in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam).

In a letter to Theo dated about 5 June 1888 Vincent remarks

About staying in the south, even if it's more expensive - Look, we love Japanese painting, we've experienced its influence - all the Impressionists have that in common - [so why not go to Japan], in other words, to what is the equivalent of Japan, the south? So I believe that the future of the new art still lies in the south after all...All my work is based to some extent on Japanese art...