Looking East: Western Artists and the Allure of Japan From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Looking East: Western Artists and the Allure of Japan From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

4F Boston Gallery 5F Open Gallery
January 2(Fri.), 2015 – May 5(Sun.), 2015
Claude Monet《La Japonaise (Camille Monet in Japanese Costume)》
Claude Monet《La Japonaise (Camille Monet in Japanese Costume)》1876
1951 Purchase Fund 56.147 Photograph ©2014 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Looking East is the first major exhibition from the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston(MFA), to survey the rich connections among Japan, Europe, and North America around 1900. The extraordinary influence of Japanese culture on the Western imagination, known as japonisme, profoundly affected leading artistic movements of the era, including Impressionism, Aestheticism, and Art Nouveau.

The exhibition explores this extraordinary moment of cross-cultural exchange by presenting about 150 exhibits including paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts in five sections: Taste for Japan; Woman; City Life; Nature; and Landscape. Each of the sections emphasizes visual connections across national borders, demonstrating the many ways that Western artists encountered Japanese art, either directly or through the example of contemporaries who introduced them to Japanese themes and styles, including asymmetry, decorative patterning, and calligraphic gesture.

Masterpieces by European and American artists will be shown along with precious objects and Ukiyo-e paintings and prints from the Museum’s Japanese collection, which is one of the finest in the world – Claude Monet’s La Japonaise, exhibited for the first time after meticulous conservation; Vincent Van Gogh’s celebrated Lullaby: Madame Augustine Roulin Rocking a Cradle (La Berceuse); and other highlights that rank among the MFA’s most beloved treasures.

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