Japan and Art Nouveau


1up_0143, 4/23/13, 7:18 PM, 8C, 4368×6344 (940+832), 100%, bent 6 stops, 1/60 s, R76.4, G57.2, B70.9

Art nouveau was heavily influenced by Japanese art this phenomenon was later referred to as Japonism. This influence was brought on mainly due to the Japanese wood-block prints that consisted of floral, bulbous forms and whiplash curves. This influence started after the trading rights were established with Japan in the 1860s. Before then Japan was a secluded country and after the trading rights westerns were finally able to look into Japan’s art and culture.


One of the main Japanese prints that many took inspiration from was Hokusai’s “The Great Wave”. Many were taken by the flat-perspective, bold lines, curves and strong use of color. Art nouveau was a movement that wanted to stray from the norm and Japanese prints were different from that. They would often refer to the natural world. They would contain organic forms and layers.


Siegried Bing was one of the main figures in the introduction of the Japanese arts. He was a German art dealer living in Paris. He had owned an import-export business which concentrated on the sales of Japanese and other Asian objects. He opened a gallery called the Maison de l’Art Nouveau. His gallery had works from William Morris to glassware by Tiffany. He had aslo published a monthly journal Le Japon Artistique.  The main focus of this journal was to celebrate the dynamic creative crossing of Japanese Design and European Art.


Le Japon Artistique volume 10 distinctly shows Japanese art. The figures are traditional Japanese people. From the way the hair is to the lady wearing the kimono. The figure contains many repetitive lines in the gray of the kimono. The kimono shows of a floral pattern. The kimono is the focal point since the color is the boldest. This piece can be mistaken for being designed by a Japanese person instead of Siegried Bing because of the almost identical style to the Japanese Prints.

Work Cited

“Art Nouveau and Japonisme of Naturalistic Spoon.” Naturalistic Spoon, cefiro.main.jp/Art_Nouveau_Japonisme.html.

“Decorative Arts: Le Japon Artistique; Documents D’art Et D’industrie (v. 2): Le Japon Artistique Publication Mensuelle No.10 Février 1889 [femme Et Enfant, Par Kiyonaga].” Browse – UW Digital Collections, digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/DLDecArts/DLDecArts-idx?type=article&did=DLDecArts.JaponArtistiqueII.i0075&id=DLDecArts.JaponArtistiqueII&isize=M.

“Le Japon Artistique: Japanese Floral Pattern Design in the Art Nouveau Era by Museum Of Fine Arts Boston — Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists.” Goodreads, http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10048423-le-japon-artistique.

Seishonagon3. “Art Nouveau from a historical perspective.” WordPress, aboutartnouveau.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/art-nouveau-in-history/.

Wanczura, Dieter. “Art Nouveau – Artelino.” Auctions of Japanese Prints – Artelino, http://www.artelino.com/articles/art_nouveau.asp.


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