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How Japanese Modern Art Paved The Way for Modern Art Globally

  • Posted on: September 13, 2019
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How Japanese Modern Art Paved The Way for Modern Art Globally
How Japanese Modern Art Paved The Way for Modern Art Globally

If you visit London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, then you should take a look at the Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art. The gallery will convince you that the Japanese are the ones that invented modern art as it is today. The first thing that might convince you of this is what you see when you enter the massive gallery. When you walk in, you’ll see a luxurious sculpture made of bronze of a three-legged urn, a tree stump, and peacocks. The statue was purchased by the museum’s director in 1878 from Paris.

How Did It All Come To Be?

The lavish bronze sculpture might not be something that looks modern. But it was a Japanese sculpture that became renowned in Paris, and it was bought by a museum director for a lot of money. It was one of the first essential steps with the birth of Avant-garde. Back in France during the nineteenth century, European modernism’s pioneers didn’t hesitate to show how much they loved Japanese art. They loved it because of how free and sensual it is. Van Gogh loves to collect woodblock prints of the Japanese, and Edouard Manet had a portrait of Zola sitting among his many finds of Japanese art. France’s early avant-garde openly stated that they owe artists such as Hokusai and Hiroshige.

Historians of today have been downplaying the debt the French avant-garde proclaimed to have to Japanese artists. The culture of the West appreciated Japanese people less. The Museum of Modern Art in New York was responsible for how the story of modernism was being shaped back in the times of Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor. People began to see the woodblock prints more as a resource to be used in modern art. They were also thought to be stepping stones to help expand the creativity of the West.

This kind of thought process isn’t exactly sustainable in today’s era. If you see the new Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art in the Victoria and Albert Museum, then you’ll see it for yourself. There are a massive number of treasures from Japan that come from the time of Japanese art having been influenced by outsiders, which was the Edo Period. The art began to incorporate new lifestyles, and they made modern life a singularly poetic portrait. The Japanese art of the Edo period is flamboyant will fill with fascination. The different kinds of art pieces range from eerie realistic theatre masks to lavish kimonos.

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection of ukiyo-e, which means pictures of the floating world, is one of if not, the most extensive in the whole world. Skilled masters created the art pieces, and their best works are being displayed in the gallery. It will be apparent that everyone has modern art’s history all wrong. You have to take a look at how amazing the works you’ll see in the museum are. If you thought that artists from the West were inspired by ukiyo-e and it helped them create modernism, then you’ve thought wrong. Modern art’s most revolutionary ideas were thought up in the eighteenth century in Japan, which Hiroshige, Hokusai, and Utagawa Kuniyasu back in the 1800s.