The work of French impressionist painter, Claude Monet seems to have what may be the first hints of Japanese influence in modern art. Here we will examine that influence in Monet's work, as it relates to impressionism, as well as influence upon modern culture as a whole.
"If you absolutely must find an affiliation for me, select the Japanese of old times...their aesthetic... evokes a presence by means of shadow and the whole by means of a fragment," (Monet, 1909).
By his own admission and self-designation, Monet was most greatly influenced by ancient Japanese art and custom. Monet was not alone in this fascination for the exotic, either. In the work of his contemporaries, Manet and Renoir, we can still see echoes of Asian influence. This is, of course to be expected, as the three were not only colleagues in art, but good friends living in Paris at the same time.
It was in the Cafe Derbouis that the group of Impressionists that set up the Societe Anonyme des Artists met, including Manet, Renoir, Monet Degas and Bazille. They met regularly to 'observe the Paris theatre and discuss topics of the day' . The writer George Moore commented that "[an artist] must know something about the academy of fine artsabut [more importantly] the real French academy, the cafe Auot," Claude Monet wrote of his time in the cafe, saying, "nothing could have been more stimulating than the regular discussions which we used to have there," . Parisian social life centred on the cafe and as such it was a huge palette from which the artists could draw inspiration.
It was in 1853 that Commodore Perry opened the door of trade to the West in Japan. In 1862 in Paris a shop called "La Jonque Chinoise" was opened on the Rue de Rivoli. It sold Oriental art to collectors, including Degas and Monet. Monet and the Impressionists were greatly interested in the Oriental composition of Japanese woodblock prints. The use of strong and expressive lines, so n...