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Japonisme


Artist: Henry Somm (1844 - 1907) Primary
Date: 1881
19th century
Dimensions: 12.56 in. (31.9 cm)
Dimensions Extent: image
Object Type: Print
Creation Place: Europe, France
Medium and Support: Drypoint
Credit Line: Gift from the Dr. I. J. and Sarah Markens Art Collection, 2018
Accession Number: 2018.34.20
Not on view.


The Western European fascination with all aspects of Japanese art and culture, or japonisme, emerged in the wake of Commodore Matthew Perry’s forcible opening of Japan to foreign trade in 1854. By the 1880s, shiploads of Japanese goods, including paper lanterns, fans, and – especially influential for artists – ukiyo-e woodcuts, had poured into France. Somm spent two years studying the Japanese language after moving to Paris in the 1860s, where he became part of the Le Chat Noir circle that included Edgar Degas, Henri Fantin-Latour, Théophile Steinlen, and Adolphe Willette. Like those artists, Somm frequently included scenes from contemporary urban life in his prints, such as the elegant Parisienne in the center of this composition.



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