Looking East at Asian Art Museum–How Monet, van Gogh and other Western Artists were influenced by Japanese Art and Culture

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If you live in San Francisco or travel here for a visit, this is an art exhibition that you will enjoy very much.  Asian art is not as commonly appreciated by most Americans, but the Impressionists are more popular.  You may be interested  to know that in the late 19th Century, a generation of artists and collectors embraced Japanese art, and created the trend called Japonism.  Impressionists and post-impressionists including van Gogh,  Cassatt, Degas, and Monet were much influenced by the Japanese art and culture.

In this exhibition, there are many paintings that you can pair the art work of the Western artists with the Japanese artists.  I usually don’t take pictures in the museum, but this time I was encouraged by the museum’s request:  SNAP and SHARE.  So, I did my part.  I took many pictures without flash and shared with you all.  Very often, artists inspire one another, but it is interesting to learn how they were inspired by other cultures without even having visited those countries.  We have social media nowadays and technology.  But what kind of communication did they have at that time?   Art has become the subject, as well as the media in communication.  Art has existed since the beginning of civilization.  It  never stops to inspire, to cultivate, and to appreciate.

I know very little about Japanese Art though I visited Japan many years ago through a work-study program in the university.  Ten years ago, I attempted to study Asian Art at the Asian Art Museum, but failed to complete the course due to work.  This exhibition has re-ignited my interest in this area.  I looked up some information via the internet and bought some books.  There are some interesting articles I found.  Take a look if you are interested.

Monet’s collection of Japanese prints: what are the historical and cultural factors, and how these two cultures met.  If you like, let us study a little and hold a discussion group, just to have fun.  Meanwhile, these photos I took told us lots of information.  The exhibition is still on till February 7. Don’t miss this opportunity.  See you there!

I also found this You Tube video from Asian Art Museum very educational.

China’s First Emperor’s Warriors are going home! Last two weeks to visit them at Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Part II

In my last post on the same subject, I did not include the artifacts being exhibited.  On this post, I have included some of the artifacts excavated from the tomb.  To make it more interesting for you, I have created a movie from the pictures of the Warriors and the artifacts.  The music I used is Birds Singing in Spring by the Shanghai Folk Orchestra.  Scroll down to see the birds among the artifacts!  I hope you will enjoy it.

Here’s a gallery of the artifacts only, since I have already posted the Warriors on my last post.

Reminder: If you click any picture, you will see the gallery open up with the photos in large size.

Of these artifacts, I found the four water-birds most interesting.  It is the first time I saw water-birds excavated from tombs.  The First Emperor wanted to keep these birds in a pond surrounding his underground palace.  This shows how he would enjoy life if he were alive!

Reminder: If you click any of these four pictures, you will see the gallery open up with the photos in large size.

I also like these two tiles which have very special patterns.  The tile on the left is a rectangular paving tile with a sun design framed by a S-shaped cloud.  The First Emperor might have imagined himself ascended to heaven by walking on symbolic floors like this everyday.

The paving tile on the right is a hollow brick fragment with a dragon design.  It is believed that the First Emperor ‘s palaces were meant to mirror the celestial realm.  Therefore the dragon and phoenix designs are often found in these paving tiles.

(References: from the labels of the artifacts in the exhibition.)

Reminder: If you click any of these two pictures, you will see the gallery open up with the photos in large size.