Description - Making Modern Japanese-Style Painting by Chelsea Foxwell
The Western discovery of Japanese paintings at nineteenth-century world's fairs and export shops catapulted Japanese art to new levels of popularity. With that popularity, however, came criticism, as Western writers lamented a perceived end to pure Japanese art and a rise in westernized cultural hybrids. The Japanese response: nihonga, a traditional painting style that reframed existing techniques to distinguish them from Western artistic conventions. Making Modern Japanese-Style Painting explores the visual characteristics and social functions of nihonga and traces its relationship to the past, its viewers, and emerging notions of the modern Japanese state. The artist Kano Hogai (1828-88) is a telling example: originally a painter for the shogun, his art evolved into novel, eerie images meant to satisfy both Japanese and Western audiences. Rather than absorbing Western approaches, nihonga as practiced by Hogai and others broke with pre-Meiji painting even as it worked to neutralize the rupture.
By arguing that changing audience expectations led to the emergence of nihonga, Making Modern Japanese-Style Painting offers a fresh look at an important aspect of Japan's development into a modern nation.
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(279mm x 216mm x mm)
University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
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Author Biography - Chelsea Foxwell
Chelsea Foxwell is assistant professor of art history at the University of Chicago.