Beautiful and exotic, Japan has been a subject of fascination for westerners ever since Commodore Perry "opened" the country to trade in the 1854. Nineteenth-century artists fell especially hard for the culture, and the Japanese color woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e, or pictures of the floating world, deeply influenced Impressionist, Cubist and post-Impressionist artists. The Saint Louis Art Museum explores this relationship in its new exhibition, Japonisme in the Graphic Arts. Japonisme — a French term for the influence of Japanese art on the West — will be on display via woodcuts, lithographs and etchings by artists such as James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. An afternoon spent looking at some classic art? That sounds like a lovely little respite, indeed. Japonisme in the Graphic Arts is on display from Friday, October 2, to Sunday, December 13, in Gallery 321 of the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072 or Admission to the exhibition is free.

Image: Henri Rivière, French, 1864–1951; Funeral with Umbrellas, 1891; color woodcut; 13 9/16 x 9 11/16 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Funds given anonymously in honor of Nancy G. Rosenbaum 10:2006.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 2. Continues through Dec. 13, 2009

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