This extensive publication, complete with hundreds of illustrations by such renowned artists as Carl Larsson, Edvard Munch, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Helene Schjerfbeck, Pekka Halonen, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Gerhard Munthe, Pietro Krohn, and Frida Hansen, 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, although nowhere was the influence seemingly as pervasive as it was throughout the Nordic countries. The book 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. The adoption of Japanese motifs and styles in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark gave a necessary cohesion to their existing artistic language, creating a vital balance within and among all of the decorative arts.
Gabriel P. Weisberg is professor of art history at the University of Minnesota. Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff is chief curator of the Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery in Helsinki. Hanne Selkokari is chief curator at WSOY Literary Foundation in Helsinki.
Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki
National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen