Japan's markets were suddenly flooded with foreign goods. The Japanese economy needed to produce goods that would sell on the international markets — and quick. One thing that started to flow out of Japan in large volumes was art.
By the 1860s, several well known European and American artists were avid collectors of Japanese art. It influenced their work. This influence was so great that a new phrase took the art world by storm in 1872 — Japonisme.
Japonisme is the influence of Japanese art (especially ukiyo-e wood block prints) on impressionist painters of the late 19th century. It also applies to later influences upon Art Nouveau and Cubism. Artists influenced by Japanese art include:
1.Van GoghIn 1885, Van Gogh was starving — surviving on bread and coffee alone. Despite his poor financial condition he started collecting Japanese prints. By the end of his life 5 years later he had collected hundreds of them.
He incorporated elements of ukiyo-e into his style. In many cases, he openly copied ukiyo-e. Van Gogh once said that Impressionists are "the Japanese of France".
(left Hiroshige, right Van Gogh)
(ukiyo-e in background of a self portrait)
2. Toulouse LautrecToulouse Lautrec is widely recognized as one of the greatest painters of the Post-Impressionist period. He incorporated elements of Japanese art such as exaggerated eye expressions into his work.
(in ukiyo-e prints kabuki actors often have interesting eyes)
(Toulouse Lautrec - La Goulue Arriving at the Moulin Rouge)
3. James TissotJames Tissot was another French painter who experimented with Japonisme. He included Japanese paintings, objects and kimono into several of his best known works.
4. Edgar DegasImpressionist great Edgar Degas was a collector of Japanese prints. He incorporated Japanese compositional principles into his work.
5. William Merritt ChaseJapanese art also influenced American Impressionist painters such as William Merritt Chase. Many of his works exhibit an uncanny Japanese aesthetic sense.
6. Edmund Charles TarbellEdmund Charles Tarbell is another great American Impressionist painter who was influenced by Japanese Aesthetics.
7.George Hendrik BreitnerGeorge Hendrik Breitner was a Dutch painter and photographer. His painting Girl in Red Kimono is considered a high point of the Japonisme movement.
(you'll notice that Europeans of the day had no idea how to wear a kimono properly)
8. Édouard ManetManet is considered one of the founders of Impressionism. Japanese art influenced his style.
(Portrait of Emile Zola)