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Japonisme - Cultural Crossings between Japan and the West

Date: Friday January 7th 2005 [15:02] | Posted By: Joe

Phaidon Press have sent us details of a new book they are publishing - Japonisme: Cultural Crossings between Japan and the West, by Lionel Lambourne. It focuses on the history of Japanese of the West's extraordinary love affair with Japan. It's due out in May and sounds like an interesting read.
Full Story
Press release as follows:

Cultural Crossings between Japan and the West
By Lionel Lambourne
Published by Phaidon Press

Publication Date: May 2005
Price: £39.95/€59.95
Binding: Hardback
Size: 290 x 250 mm
ISBN 0 7148 4105 6
Extent 240 pages
Illustrations c.220 colour and c.30 b&w

Japonisme by Lionel Lambourne (£39.95, 240 pages, hardback), published by Phaidon Press in May 2005 tells the story of the West's extraordinary love affair with Japan, and for the first time, tells the story of the counter-current of Western influence on Japan. Covering the period from the first contacts in the sixteenth century, to the artistic frenzy that swept Europe and America in the second half of the nineteenth century, this book is a broad survey of fine and decorative arts, interior decoration, costume and fashion accessories, literature and the theatre, travel, gardens and plants.

Coined by a French art critic in 1876, the term Japonisme was used to describe the craze for all things Japanese. From the very first contact, Japan has always possessed an irresistible fascination for the West, which increased when Japan closed its borders in 1638. For over 200 years the only contact was through a small colony of Dutch traders who were permitted to live on the tiny island of Deshima in Nagasaki Bay. After 1858, full trade was resumed, and a wave of ‘Japanomania' swept across Europe and America. The 1862 Great Exhibition in London was the first to display a wide range of Japanese goods in the west. Visited by hundreds of thousands of people, the prints, ceramics and lacquer work became the height of fashion. Christopher Dresser travelled to Japan in 1876 as an agent for Tiffany & Co. He visited 64 potteries and dozens of other manufacturers. Not only did he take photographs home to spread the word there, but he also advised the Japanese how best to export their trade.

Lionel Lambourne, former Head of Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum, tells this remarkable story focusing on human drama, including the amusing and sometimes tragic stories of the individuals involved in the two-way dialogue between cultures. After an introduction telling the story of the first contact, the long isolation and the events leading to the renewal of trade, he turns to Europe and captures the excitement and influence of Japanese prints and artefacts on artists such as Whistler and the Impressionists. He also devotes chapters to travel, Japonisme in America, landscape and gardens, and the curious subject of spooks and ghosts. The book is richly illustrated with 250 images, including Japanese prints and artefacts juxtaposed with the works that they directly inspired, as well as decorative arts, posters, advertisements, book illustrations, fashion, cartoons, photography, gardens and architecture.

Author Details: Lionel Lambourne was Head of Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, from 1986 to 1993. He has travelled widely as curator of exhibitions in Britain, Germany and Japan, and has had a long-standing interest in the dialogue between Japan and the West. His books include The Aesthetic Movement (1996) and Victorian Painting (1999), both published by Phaidon.

Contents: Introduction • 1. Historical Survey • 2. Japan and the Painters • 3. The Poster and the Japanese Print • 4. The Decorative Arts • 5. Furniture and Interiors • 6. Fans, Parasols, Combs, Pins, Kimonos • 7. The Novel, the Stage and the Opera • 8. Visitors to Japan: Dream and Reality • 9. The United States and Japan • 10. Landscape and Gardens • 11. Symbolism and the Grotesque • 12. Coda: Floating World or Moving Image? • Select Bibliography • Index

Source: Phaidon Press

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