Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Impact Of Japanese Art On American Graphic Art, 1880-1920

Through August 3, the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, New York, is presenting a unique exhibition of ephemera, “Japonisme in American Graphic Art, 1880-1920.” Featuring more than twenty-five rarely seen works on paper from the Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection, this exhibition explores the impact of Japanese art on the graphic arts of America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

During this period, Americans were avidly discovering, studying, and collecting the arts of Japan. Artists were particularly fascinated by these exotic objects and found in them inspiration for revitalizing Western pictorial traditions. James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Robert Blum, Winslow Homer, Arthur Wesley Dow, and others began incorporating Japanese motifs, aesthetic principles, and techniques into their own art – a phenomenon known by the French term “Japonisme.”

“Japonisme in American Graphic Art, 1880-1920” examines myriad manifestations of Japonisme in a selection of fine etchings, lithographs, watercolors, pastels, and other graphic media created by American artists. James McNeill Whistler, for example, created compositions with dramatic contrasts of blank and filled areas and subtle atmospheric effects. His brand of aesthetics influenced many younger Americans, including Joseph Pennell and Robert Blum.

Mary Cassatt was inspired by Japanese prints to create some of her most formally and technically daring color etchings characterized by flattened figures, unmodulated planes of color, and strong linear design. Some artists had an even more direct engagement with the art of Japan. Both Bertha Lum and Helen Hyde spent years living in Japan and studying traditional printing techniques. Their woodcuts were immensely popular during their lifetimes and helped to familiarize American audiences with Japanese styles and subjects.

The exhibition also includes several examples of Japanese art in order to illustrate the characteristics that American artists found so appealing in this art. “Japonisme in American Graphic Art, 1880-1920” complements the special exhibition “Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770-1900 on view at the museum through June 15.

The Brooklyn Museum of Art is located at 200 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. For more information, visit the museum’s Web site,; or phone (718) 638-5000.

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