Japomania in the north 1875-1918

A new exhibition on the influence of Japanese painting and ceramics in Scandinavia in the late 19th century and early 20th century has opened at Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen.

This is a pair to the exhibition Learning from Japan - currently at Designmuseum Danmark in the city - and together they explore how the opening up of trade with Japan in the second half of the 19th century inspired artists and designers and architects in Scandinavia. 

Some of these Scandinavian pieces show direct and close observation of works that were published or had been shown in the city … there were several prominent collectors of Japanese ceramics and wood cuts and both woodcuts and ceramics were shown in displays when the design museum, then called the Kunstindustriemuseet, opened… but there had also been important displays of Japanese art at the Nordic Exhibition in Copenhagen in 1888, as well as at the World Fairs in Paris in 1878 and again in 1889.

Several pieces here show a looser interpretation of Japanese style with what for some was more a passing fashion with people portrayed incongruously in Japanese costumes or shown carrying painted umbrellas. Some of the paintings have incredible frames and it would be interesting to see historic photographs that show how these were displayed in Scandinavian homes.

Japomania in the North 1875 - 1918, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

19 January - 23 April 2017


The Misses Salomon by Anders Zorn (1888)

vase by Thorvald Bindesbøll inspired by the famous Japanese print of a wave