Helena Capkova (Waseda University), ‘Bohemian Japonisme in the context of the vernacular revival at the fin de siècle’

This presentation considered Japanese as one of the languages, using the metaphor suggested in the programme of the workshop, the artists of Central as well as of the rest of Europe spoke fluently in the Fin de Siècle. The narrative of the paper was built on Petr Wittlich extensive study of Bohemian and Moravian Secession movement and its connections with Germany, France as well as other neighbouring countries using the transnational networks of Japonistes as means to shed new light on this yet widely explored area of art history. The short presentation also suggested a methodological strategy which proved to be particularly useful in researching international or transnational cultural production. Further it explored several sources which fed Japonisme in the Central Europe, including those from Britain, France and Austria and to identify some immediate encounters with Japan which formed the art production in yet different ways. The artists in question included painters and graphic designers Jan Preisler, Max Švabinský, Vojtěch Preissing and Emil Orlik, and architects Jan Kotěra and Jan Letzel whose interpretations of Czech vernacular style and Japonisme are still standing in the Czech republic and Japan. A number of art works examined in the paper ranged from painting and graphic design to architecture.

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