Japonisme: The Great Wave and Beyond

In 1872, French art critic Philippe Burty (1830-1890) coined the term Japonisme to describe contemporary European fascinations with Japan. A major focus of this course will be this great wave of Japonisme in Europe and America from the 1860s to the 1910s, when Japanese woodblock prints, decorative art, and commercial objects exerted profound influences on arts and cultures in Europe and America, playing an essential role in the formation of modern painting and designs. Meanwhile, Meiji government’s active responses to the Western wave of Japonisme and its strategies of self-presentation on the international stage led to significant reforms of arts and crafts in Japan. Beyond this great wave, we will also examine Japonisme on a broader horizon, beginning with the Iberian trade and Jesuit missions (mid-sixteenth to early seventeenth century) in Japan and ending in the end of the twentieth century when conceptual Japanese fashion designers won international fame. We will survey a wide range of materials, from paintings, objects of art, designs, textiles and fashion, literature, theater, to cinema and products of popular culture. 3 credits. May satisfy the geocultural requirement, depending on final project.