“Japonism”, the influence of Japanese art, began in the 1860s when the ports of Japan were opened up, and became one of the most important and essential ingredients in European modern art in the second half of the 19th century. This fascination with Japanese art provided themes, motifs, compositions, techniques, formats... In short, poetic imagination and a vision of art that changed tastes and revealed a whole world of ideas, forms and colours. Drinking from this source of inspiration at around the turn of the 20th century, Western art found renewal.
The exhibition that ”la Caixa” Foundation now presents is not only the first in Spain to be dedicated specifically to the international phenomenon of Japonism, but is also the first major exploration of European fascination with Japanese art and culture, a fascination that became widespread in Spain and, particularly, Catalonia. In this exhibition, more than three hundred works, including many shown for the first time, illustrate an enthralling story full of discoveries and exchanges, and whose earliest origins date back to the arrival in Japan of the first missionaries during the Nanban period, more than four hundred years ago.
The works by the artists selected -Fortuny, Picasso, Manet, Rusiñol, Toulouse-Lautrec, Miró and Nonell, amongst others- testify to a shared fascination: the discovery of an art, an aesthetic, a culture and a worldview that were apparently distant but which captivated artists at the turn of the 20th century and generated a rich dialogue with the society of the day.
Japonism. The Fascination with Japanese Art can be on view at CaixaForum Barcelona from 14 June to 15 September 2013.