While preparing for our vacation to Japan this summer I checked out several art museums we would like to visit. One is the Bridgestone Museum of Art. Unfortunately the museum is closed for renovation. A part of the collection is on view at an exhibition in Germany, in the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn. Among the paintings are works with flowers and gardens, a reason to write a review about it.
The exhibition Japan’s love for impressionism. From Monet to Renoir shows 100 impressionist masterpieces from leading Japanese art collections. On view until 21 February 2016. The exhibition portrays the history of the mutual artistic influence between Japan and Europe – from a new perspective.
France & Japan, the beginnings
Japanese industrials started collecting art works from Impressionists at the end of the 19th century. This development began with the industrialist Kojiro Matsukata, who was a close friend of Claude Monet.
Kōjirō Matsukata (the President of Kawasaki Shipbuilding Company) and Magosaburō Ōhara (the Founder of the Kuraray Chemical Compagny) builded some of the most remarkable Impressionist collections in the world.
French & Japanese Impressionists
At the heart of the exhibition are masterpieces by French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists, among them Monet, Manet, Cézanne, Gauguin, Bonnard, Pissarro, Renoir, Signac, Sisley and van Gogh.
This selection is supplemented by impressive works created by Japanese artists before 1920, who, inspired by the French artists, developed paintings in the Western style, thus paving the way for modern Japanese art.
A great comparison between two works are these paintings by Claude Monet and the Japanese painter Shigeru Aoki.
A unique presentation of outstanding French art which we are able to show collectively for the first time in Europe – Rein Wolfs, Director of the Bundeskunsthalle
Japan’s Love – A Correlation
The works on display illustrate the mutual inspiration between Japanese and French art. Since the unlocking of Japan in the middle of the 19th century, French painters had been fascinated by Japanese Ukiyo-e woodcuts, which not only had a strong impact on their works, but also promoted Japonism.
Likewise Western painting arrived in Japan shortly after the rise of the Japan craze in Europe. Japanese painters residing in France on the brink of the 20th century imported academic painting en plein air and Impressionism to Japan. Ultimately, these developments also help to shed some light on the phenomenon of the Japanese love of Impressionist painting.
Pond of Villa d’Este, Tivoli, 1909, Takeshi Fujishima, Tokyo University of Arts, The University Art Museum Tokyo
See the website Bundeskunsthalle Bonn for more information about the exhibition and all activities.
Looking for Travel tips to Japan
It’s been 15 years since my last visit to Japan, that was a little while ago. We are going to visit family in Nagasaki and Sendai and make stops on the way travelling from South to North. I am open for tips of hidden treasures, like museums and (private) gardens. Please share them with me in your comments. Thank you!