The origin stories of French Japonisme, the nineteenth-century fascination for Japanese art, tend to frame the movement in terms of the activities described in the memoirs of an elite group of men active in the French arts administration. And yet, a return to archival sources uncovers a much broader landscape of interest and exchange related to Japanese works in the years following the 1858 “Traité d’amitié et de commerce.” Travelers such as Emile and Louise Desoye imported and sold Japanese goods, while families such as Louis and Anna Gonse collected and displayed art in their homes. Artists Felix and Marie Bracquemond and Mary Cassatt, among many others, took inspiration from the Japanese prints and ceramics they admired.
Drawing on the findings of Reframing Japonisme: Women and the Asian Art Market in Nineteenth-Century France (1853-1914) (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020), this presentation will provide an overview of some of the many women involved in promoting Japanese art and culture in the nineteenth century while asking questions about how and why their stories have been “cropped” from the frame through which Japonisme tends to be represented. How might twenty-first century scholars enlarge the canvas?
Elizabeth Emery is Professor of French Studies at Montclair State University. She is the author of books, articles, and essay anthologies related to the reception of medieval art and architecture in nineteenth-century France and America, literary house museums, and to the work of women art dealers and collectors of Japanese art. She serves as an editor for the Journal of Japonisme and has been contributing to the “Connoisseurs, Collectors, and Dealers of Asian Art in France from 1700-1939” Program (Institut national de l’histoire de l’art).
This hybrid lecture will be held on site (email required in advance) and via Zoom (meeting ID: 890 4028 6066).