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The Influence of Japonisme

In 1853, Japan opened its borders for the first time since the 1600s to commercial trade, resulting in a five decade-long fascination with Japanese motifs, techniques, and aesthetics that permeated the international scene. Coined by French art critic Philippe Burty in the early 1870s, Japonisme had a profound influence on the formation of art in Europe and America, leading directly to the rise of Art Nouveau, with flora and fauna, compositions with asymmetry and movement, and the belief that decorative art and design were equally as important as painting and sculpture. Impacting artists and makers alike, there is bountiful evidence of this inspiration found in lithographs by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Alphonse Mucha; in art glass, metalwork, and home decor from Louis Comfort Tiffany, Daum Nancy, and Émile Gallé; and in enameled jewelry from René Lalique, Eugène Feuillâtre, and Louis Zorra.