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Lights on the art in the Meiji era
Attention to the eyes ! That one is a fan of Japan, unbeatable on its culture and history or simply the curious, the picture rails of the musée Guimet, in Paris

Lights on the art in the Meiji era

Attention to the eyes ! That one is a fan of Japan, unbeatable on its culture and history or simply the curious, the picture rails of the musée Guimet, in Paris

Lights on the art in the Meiji era

Attention to the eyes ! That one is a fan of Japan, unbeatable on its culture and history or simply the curious, the picture rails of the musée Guimet, in Paris, in put full the sight. Issues for a large part of the inestimable collection Khalili of London, 350 parts illuminate, for the first time in France so vast, the aesthetic of the japanese of the Meiji era (1868-1912) and its influence in the international. A prolific period, curiously unrecognized, perhaps because of the Edo era, and its famous estampeurs, Hokusai in mind - that preceded him and made him of the shadow.

The shogun to the emperor

"Meiji period, this is primarily the story of a failover in the modern era, of a revolution that shakes a archipelago for a long time folded in on itself, and this in all fields : politics, economy, society, art," recalls Sophie Makariou, president of the museum and general curator of the exhibition, which it is the genesis for the last five years. And she did not like to set the scene : a shogun is all-powerful in Edo (the future Tokyo), emperor puppet in Kyoto and... the birth, in November of 1852, "in a dark hut of the old imperial palace," his only male child surviving, the prince Mutsuhito.

Uchida Kuichi, "Mutsuhito, the emperor Meiji" (first photograph of the emperor taken in costume western), October 8, 1873.

©RMN-GP (MNAAG, Paris)/ Images NMR-GP

over The following years, the country is subject to harsh pressure from foreign powers. The United States open hostilities in the directing, military forces in support, to open its doors to western trade. Internally, social instability, rages, this is the established system which is called into question, and ultimately lead to the collapse of the shogunate in 1867, the beautiful Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last reigning of this noble lineage, and forced to abdicate. After the early death of his father Kômei, Mutsuhito, not yet 16 years of age, acceded to power. And opens the new Empire to the reforms, the creation of a parliament to ban the wearing of the sword, through the industrialization left and right of the territory.

The archipelago runs west

That is actually Meiji (the"government of light" in VO), name posthumous chooses Mutsuhito according to the japanese tradition? A visionary with a sharp or a puppet in the hands of the lords of the reformers, local pulling the strings? Not a maverick, in any case, if one believes the four photographs of him, that Guimet exhibited, and on which, dressed in a western sense, it shows a air bad. If the historians are struggling to decide, one thing is for sure : it is under the long reign (forty-four years !) of this enigmatic character that the Country of the Rising Sun disrupts his relation to the world. Not without paradoxes. Like shintoism, the oldest indigenous religion, that the emperor is trying to promote at the expense of buddhism. "The population is resistant, Mutsuhito eventually let go of the case and, as a result, buddhist iconography is becoming fashionable," says Sophie Makariou.

Shoâmi Katsuyoshi, "Elephant carapaçonné wearing a jewel in the crown" (silver, shakudô, shibuichi, gold), around 1890.

©The Khalili Collections of Japanese Art

This is also the paradox of art as a whole, which sees "the Meiji era to pass Japan to the west without having to completely give up on him", continues the commissioner. Traditional practices such as lacquer or ceramic, are put forward and raise the total renewal of techniques, such as that of enamels. The yôkai, these ghosts and fantastic creatures millennia, are delivered to the taste of the day by means of prints playful. The jewellery wildest arise, in the image of this elephant to the rich inscrustations, who wears a dragon supporting a crystal ball.

The wave of japonisme

This is a real cyclone, from where the artists draw their pin of the game. The lacquer painter Zeshin is also a virtuoso that inventive, the ceramist Kôzan innovates finesse. Jubei imposes his mastery of cloisonné. The wacky Kyôsai makes cartoons awesome, it looks like straight out of a comic strip. Chokichi, him, unfolds his ambition lay in full view of the melting of metal, as evidenced by the censer's monumental bronze and gilt metal, which welcomes visitors at the entrance of the course. Impossible to miss...

Miyagawa Kôzan, "Bowl with decoration of egrets" (a kind of porcelain decorated with blue and black under glaze), circa 1900-1910.

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

These artists do not shine at home. And repeat findings and perfection as never before to impress the West. Because the Meiji government to participate his country at the world fairs in Vienna, Paris, Philadelphia, or Chicago. The craze of Europe for all that is japanese is like a tidal wave. The japonisme, a term coined by the critic Philippe Burty - sweeping. The masters of the Hexagon and elsewhere are inspired by it. The impressionists, Van Gogh, the "cloisonnistes" the school of Pont-Aven, the nabis and the fauves surf at the wave japanese.

When the Japanese "japonisent"...

Buzz global forces, the artists of japanese, in their turn, give birth to works as "japanese" than those that they themselves had inspired the Westerners, "without falling into the 'japoniaiserie'" says, not without a joke, Sophie Makariou, which exposes them side by side, in the end of the course, and challenge visitors to guess at the origin. It is the triumph of the nihonga -"the art of painting to the japanese in a new way"- which sees traditional techniques and materials (lavis ink, roller) in the service of a style and perspectives drawn from the west.

Andô Jubei, "Box decor wisteria", the command of the imperial House (enamels), circa 1905.

©The Khalili Collections of Japanese Art

Sacred Japanese ! Infinite Patience, (he had to in order to reach this technical level), perfectionism and inventiveness involved, it is not surprising that the rest of the world has succumbed... Big plans, for the road, two masters, cults of Meiji.

Meiji, splendors of imperial Japanese, the musée Guimet, Paris (XVIe), until 14 January 2019.

Zeshin, a lacquer painter iconic

Shibata Zeshin, "Box of paper (ryoshibako) and writing box (suzuribako) decorated with symbols of good omen" (wood, red lacquer and lacquer gold, mother-of-pearl).

©The Khalili Collections of Japanese Art

A walk in the Edo era, the other in the Meiji period, Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891) pass with flair, and independence, from one period to the other. Formed in the lacquer with a master of inrô (boxes of medicines traditional in vogue among western collectors), he also studied painting with Tani Bunchô, star of the Bunjinga (paintings by literati) in the time of Edo. It will involve also the two areas in his work more late in making urushi-e (painting with lacquer on paper) and lacquer panels, which won a great success in the universal exhibitions.

As the ceramist Kôzan, "Zeshin was first obtained recognition abroad before being courted by the authorities of his country," said Michel Maucuer, curator-in-chief of the section on Japan at the musée Guimet, who has collaborated in the implementation of the exhibition. Another point in common with his fellow countryman, tip-t-it, the lacquer painter "attempts to raise the craft to the level of great art" and be renewed in the time of Meiji: "The overload of gold, the luxury and the ostentation leave room for him to creativity, to life, to intelligence." Shibata Zeshin remains an artist of his time, still today very present in the collections of the west.

Kyôsai, the rebel, extravagant

Kawanabe Kyôsai, "Mouse eating a fish head", album page "Drawings for pleasure" (print), 1881.

©RMN-GP (MNAAG, Paris)/ Harry Bréjat

Kanawabe Kyôsai (1831-1889), one of the stars of the exhibition, is an artist as fascinating as dazzling. 7 years ago, already, he plays the boy workshop in the lair of Utagawa Kuniyoshi, a size of the engraving ukiyo-e. On the banks of the very classical school Kanô, where he continues his learning, he was nicknamed the "Demon of painting", because of his talent for a non-standard, but also his temperament is fantastic: a decided leaning to the satyr, an immoderate taste for sake, the sharp tongue.

All of this earned him a few beatings, and stays behind bars over the course of the upheavals that cause and follow the "Meiji restoration". Combining technical excellence and humor pest, his cartoons, called kyôga -"image crazy"- scoff at the westernization in the market. Kyôsai is one of the few brushes of the Meiji era to have seduced his French contemporaries. By the virtuosity of its stroke, the then think of a disciple of Hokusai. It is, moreover, Emile Guimet, whose collection asian is at the origin of the museum to which he gave his name, which was made known in France the irreverent Nippon.

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Publish Date : 06 Kasım 2018 Salı 14:42

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