Through Japanese Eyes: Paris, 1900–1945
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After the Meiji Restoration, learning from Western culture and then surpassing it became one of Japan’s goals. To Japanese Western-style artists Paris, the capital of the art world, was, from the late nineteenth century on, sacred ground. They were filled with a powerful desire to breathe its air and to see for themselves both masterpieces and works representing the latest trends. From 1900, a growing number of Japanese artists did visit Paris. There, in that sacred place, some were shocked, some passionately embraced the study of Western art, and some attempted to establish a Japanese identity while immersed in Western culture.
From the collections of the Bridgestone Museum of Art and the Ishibashi Museum of Art, 35 works have been selected depicting Paris by Asai Chu, Sakamoto Hanjiro, Fujita Tsuguharu (Léonard Foujita), Saeki Yuzo, and Oka Shikanosuke and so on. To these have been added five related works borrowed from other museums to create a special opportunity to reflect on the meaning of Paris to these Japanese artists who created Western-style art.
[Image: Yuzo Saeki "Cafe Terrace With Posters" (1927)]