During the 1880s, Vincent Van Gogh and his brother amassed and dealt hundreds of Japanese wood-block color prints called ukiyo-o, a popular art form among many impressionist painters and art collectors. During that period, Van Gogh also began to experiment with themes found in ukiyo-o and used the term “Japonaiserie” to describe the influence of Japanese art in his work.
Bloomberg recently critiqued a Parisian exhibition featuring the work of Van Gogh in contrast with one of the Japanese ukiyo-o masters whose work he stylized, Ando Hiroshige.
In a recent lecture from the Frick Collection, art historian Cornelia Homburg contextualized the influence of Japanese art among Van Gogh and other post-impressionists in the mid-1880s. She also explained how Van Gogh’s experimentation with Japonaiserie was followed by his breakthrough as an artist, resulting in the unique and highly-recognizable style found in most of his work from 1888 to his death in 1890.