This extensive publication, complete with hundreds of detailed illustrations by such renowned artists as Claude Monet, Edgard Degas, Felix Brcquemond, Carl Larsson, Bruno Liljefors, Edvard Munch, Vilhelm Hammershoi, Albert Edelfelt, Helene Schjerfbeck, Pekka Halonen, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Christopher Dresser, Pietro Krohn, Alf Wallander, Frida Hansen, Rörstrand Manufactory, Sweden and Royal Copenhagen, and Hokusai Hiroshige, among others, offers an unprecedented study of Japanese influence on the visual arts in the Nordic countries. This unlikely diffusion of Japanese culture, known collectively as Japonisme, became increasingly apparent in England, France, and elsewhere in Europe during the 19th-century, though nowhere was the influence seemingly as pervasive as it was throughout the Nordic countries.
Japanomania in the Nordic Countries, 1875-1918 reveals how the widespread interest in Japanese aesthetics helped to establish notions of a fundamental unity between the arts and transformed the region’s visual vocabulary, revealing new ways in which nature and man could be harmoniously represented. Overall, the adoption of Japanese motifs and styles in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark provided a necessary cohesion to their existing artistic language, forming a vital balance within and among all of the applied arts.
Gabriel P. Weisberg is professor of art history at the University of Minnesota. Anna-Maria Bonsdorff is chief curator of the Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery in Helsinki.
Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki (02/17/16-05/15/16) National Gallery of Norway, Oslo (06/16/16-10/16/16) National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen (01/19/16-04/23/17).