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Artists [Impressionists and Post-Impressionists] were especially affected by the  [ukiyo-e] lack of perspective and shadow, the flat areas of strong color, and the compositional freedom gained by placing the subject off-centre, mostly with a low diagonal axis to the background

The above paragraph is from Wiki but it sort it brings me to Le Divan Japonais, or rather to the Johnson Museum of Art (Cornell University) web page on Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s poster. I hope they don’t mind I’m basically re-blogging their work. It adds another dimension to the time period and brings its characters to life.  

“Commissioned by Edouard Fournier, owner of the short-lived Montmartre nightclub Divan Japonais, this enigmatic poster typifies many of the stylistic changes that occurred in French art in the 1890s. Using bright colors and a jarring Japanese perspective, Toulouse-Lautrec presents a scene of both great vibrancy and subtle intrigue.”

Divan Japonais, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1892 -1893

Divan Japonais, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1892 -1893

“In the foreground, looming large, sits the famous dancer Jane Avril, accompanied by the critic Eduoard Dujardin, founder of the Revue Wagnerienne and a theoretician of symbolist art.
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 “The two sit companionably side by side with slight, knowing smiles on their lips as they observe the performance of another of Montmartre’s legends, the chanteuse Yvette Guilbert, who is distinguished by her trademark full-length black gloves. In portraying her, Toulouse-Lautrec has cut off her head with the edge of the paper, a brilliant compositional decision.

“Toulouse-Lautrec was a master of such succinct characterizations and yet for all his lampooning, he was sought after by many of the performers of his day; to be depicted by him was a great honor. Both Guilbert and Avril were frequent subjects, as were Aristide Bruant and May Belfort.”

♠♠♠

The Princess from the Land of Porcelain, James McNeill Whistler, 1863 - 1865

The Princess from the Land of Porcelain, James McNeill Whistler, 1863 – 1865

NOTE: There’s a painting called At the Mouline Rouge that I’ll probably want to look at for next post, but here I’m including Whistler’s (not his mother) interpretation as an example of earlier Impressionist (as opposed to Post-Impressionist) where its seems they weren’t true to the ukiyo-e principals of “lack of perspective and shadow, the flat areas of strong color” but simply used Japonism for theme.

Geisha, Hiroshige

Geisha, Hiroshige

 

 

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