Vincent Van Gogh, Frank Lloyd Term Paper

Pages: 13 (3463 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Iron and Steel were used in order to open up the interior of buildings to an unprecedented scale. Architect Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo was one of the first to implement Oriental aspects into designs, using black and white, asymmetry and plant forms (Weisberg).

Nancy, which was located in Paris, was the premiere Art Nouveau school. It developed strong bonds with the East. Japanese decorative art offered Art Nouveau new forms and decorations that were used to renew the objects d'art. Painter Hokkai Takashima, for example, lived at Nancy from 1885 to 1888 and formed bonds of friendship with creators Emile Galle and Camille Martin, thus influencing their work.

When writing about Japonisme, some historians stop at the artists and collectors of the day and then have an addendum of other "crafts" such as fashion, architecture, furniture and ceramics. But are these not considered art today? As Wichmann says in his book about Japonisme, how can a person separate one art form that copies the woodcut and creativity of Japan from another? They all blend and intermix to result in the reality of these earlier days. And, they all show the bridge to the artwork of today.

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The flowing Japanese kimono dramatically altered the fashion of the times. At the end of the 19th century, Paris was basking in the golden age of Art Nouveau and Japonisme. It was fashionable among women to wear beautiful kimonos as dressing gowns or indoor attire. The 1900 Paris Exposition featured a fashion exhibit for the first time and clearly marked the dawn of the 20th century age of fashion design. One person who symbolized the era was Jeanne Paquin, the pioneering female designer who was put in charge of the entire fashion exhibition. It is remarkable that she held this role. At the end of the 19th century, French society was very male-dominated, so the presence of a woman in a public managerial position was extraordinary (Japan Economic Foundation).

Term Paper on Vincent Van Gogh, Frank Lloyd Assignment

At the Paris Exposition, the Japanese kimono grabbed the imagination of Westerners. The actress Sadayakko wore an exotic kimono and performed a quiet pantomime in the traditional Noh style of Japanese theater, fluttering the sleeves like a butterfly. Sadayakko and her husband Kawakami Otojiro already had a following, since their company had earlier received "bravos" all over Europe and America in places like San Francisco, New York, London, Brussels and Vienna. They were not the only ones touring. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, several Japanese theatrical and acrobatic companies performed in Europe. The actress Hanako portrayed the role of a woman committing ritual hara-kiri and also worked as a model for noted artist Auguste Rodin. The greatest attraction of these dramatic and acrobatic performances for the audiences was surely the exotic clothing, stage arts and dancing. The essence of this attraction was symbolized by the geisha girl wearing a gorgeous kimono and dancing (ibid).

Madeleine Vionnet, who is regarded as the founder of modernism in fashion design, captured the true essence of the kimono and the original Japanese art form of folding and wrapping by paying attention to the elements of the cloth. Her V-cut design with its solid color and geometric cut from just one bolt of cloth represented the special characteristic of this Japanese robe. By studying the material and its usage for the kimono, Vionnet was able to introduce the liberalization of modern fashion (ibid).

While most American architects in the early 1900s looked to European architects for ideas, Frank Lloyd Wright found Japanese design and art more inspiring. He collected and mounted exhibitions of Oriental art and also found important clients in Japan who understood and appreciated his work (Library of Congress Exhibition). The Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, designed in 1915, was one of Wright's grandest, most elegant projects. When a devastating earthquake hit the region in 1923 and destroyed many buildings, Wright's building suffered very little damage.

Wright said that his observations and convictions on architecture found confirmation in Eastern designs. He admired the Japanese because they worked in wood and had considerable knowledge of the simplicity and possible refinements of that material. Also, the Japanese had the idea of the "open plan," where one space blends into another by sliding screens and panels. He noticed that their roof lines swept low to the ground and were an integral part of the building.

The Hickox house in Illinois shows a very strong tie to Wright's liking for the Japanese style in its seemingly paper-like walls that have been plastered. The house is shaped like a "T" that permits the living room and two half-octagonal apses to almost fill the entire downstairs. The lack of interior walls makes the small home seem much larger and allows everyone to move freely without the constraint of compartmentalization. A formal garden at the front of the house is symmetrical nature, but that symmetry gives way to functional asymmetry on the other sides (Saturday Review).

The Japanese motif also adorned ceramics and glassware of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Artisans such as Galle incorporated the abundant berry-bearing shrubs, as well as hydrangeas and chrysanthemums or the flower of the Japanese emperor, into their decorative art. Glassware craftsman Eugene Michel used the lotus and lily, the Buddhist symbols of purity, in the Japanese lines of his work. Such works could capture the instantaneous effect of the flower arranging, ikebana (Wichmann, 332)

The presentation of European ceramics and glassware reached a peak with the 1878 Paris Exhibition. The official report of the exhibition has this to say about the European Japonisme: "These charming, fantastic creations are the focus of attention. The artists set about making boxing or bowls using Japanese shapes and decorating them with leaves and blooms in the inimitable manner."

The first strong wave of Japonisme ended by the second decade of the 1900s. However, the inclusion of the rich offerings of the Japanese artists continued throughout the remaining 20th century until today. Nor has the public at large ever lost interest in such art forms. Calligraphy exemplifies this notion. In Japan, writing is the universal medium of communication -- present even in visual art (Wichmann, 392). The sign-like word rises above the level of spoken language and verbal communication. As a result, European artists such as Mark Tobey say they seized this "calligraphic impulse to carry work on into some new dimensions...With this method I found I could paint the frenetic rhythms of the modern city, the interweaving of lights and the streams of people who are entangled in the meshes of this net (Yao)."

In the mid-20th century, Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline used the flowing calligraphic black colors for his horse and rider painting. The "sign" value of script has intrigued other artists, as well. Andre Masson's 1955 etching made scripted signs into figures and set them dancing (Wichmann, 402). The result is an abundance of arabesques with some literary undertones. For many European and American painters, the calligraphic painting process offered a means to escape into new territories, because no one can predict what will happen on the canvas. Jackson Pollock, for example, introduced the idea of the "all-over field." He trickled paint from edge to edge of the painting and beyond. He deliberately started wrong and then went on the build up out of threads of color. He developed rhythms "that paid tribute to the calligraphic manner as the highest mode of expression." (ibid, 406)

Artist Georges Mathieu adds that in 1957, one hour before the opening of an exhibit in Tokyo, he painted a picture 15 meters long in the display window of a big department store in the presence of a crowd of onlookers. He stated, with no ego:

Without knowing it, I gave this people, who have been seeking for nearly a century to combine the privileges of their traditional art with the seductions of Western painting, and answer to their question. I painted in oils, straight out of the tube. I used big flat brushes and long thin ones. I struck the canvas with folded towels dipped in liquid paint...I brought about the fusion of their 1000-year-old art and European oil painting

One could write endlessly about how 20th century artists used the Japanese motif. But, as Michael Sullivan states in his book (246):

but there is no need to labour the point that what happened in modern Western art has brought it suddenly, in certain fundamental aspects, into total accord with that of the Far East. It is as though the inhabitants of one country, with immense imaginative effort, had succeeded in creating what they thought was a new language, only to discover that it was the native tongue of another land on the other side of the world.

Now, in the 21st century, Japanese creativity has taken a new approach based on electronic and computerized technology advances, combined with art. Animation, or anime in the Japanese… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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