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.

Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting

Renoir_396 (396x259)Renoir_396 (396x259)In July this year I attended a conference in Philadelphia.  On the last day of the conference before flying back to San Francisco,  I was glad that I had a few hours left to see this exhibition which I  had unfortunately missed in London on May 31, 2015, which  happened to be the last day of this show Inventing Impressionism in the National Gallery, and the first day of our UK vacation.  In Philly, the show was called  “Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting”

Paul Durand-Ruel was a visionary art dealer and the champion of the new Impressionists who were subject to severe art critics and rejection. After the Impressionists had  become famous internationally, during the time of economic downturn, Paul Durand-Ruel was literally saved by the Impressionists whose paintings were particularly loved by the rich Americans.

In this extraordinary exhibition, there were paintings from museums all over the world including Musee d’Osay, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Metropolitan Museum of Art etc. They were paintings of Monet, Renoir, Degas, Manet, Pissarro.  Although I had seen many Impressionists’ work in various  museums in the United States and Europe, it seemed to me that these were the extraordinary arising from the ordinary.  My favorites are these three Dance paintings of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The Dance at Bougival was the one I had not seen before.  The other two: Dance in the Country and Dance in the City, which I saw some years ago at Musee d’Osay have always been my favorites.  To me, it was an emotional moment to see the three reunited.  These three paintings were bigger than life-size.  My eyes were glued at them for a very long time. I thought, when will they meet again after the show?  When will I see them again?

Hey, my friends! Bored by my self-muttering?  Let’s have some fun.  Here’s a trivia question for you.  What music did you hear?  Please share with me!