Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/63

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GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

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concluded with the United States of America, and was followed by similar treaties with England, France, and Russia. In 1860 the first Japanese embassy embarked for Europe. In 1890 a constitution was granted to the nation.

Japanese woodcuts first attained more general recognition at the Great Exhibition of 1862 in London; the first colour-prints reached Paris by way of Havre in the same year. Artists like Stevens, Whistler, Diaz, Fortuny, Legros, who were then living in Paris, gave them their immediate attention;[1] they were followed by Manet, Tissot, Fantin Latour, Degas, Carolus Duran, Monet, and people began collecting the prints. The etchers Bracquemond and Jacquemart, and Solon of the Sèvres porcelain works, became the most ardent champions of this latest discovery in art. Travellers like Cernuschi, Duret, Guimet, Régamey, returned from Japan and began to sing the praises of the country and the country's art. Writers like Goncourt, Champfleury, Burty, Zola; publishers like Charpentier; craftsmen like Barbedienne, Christofle, Falize, joined in the movement. Villot, the former keeper of the Louvre pictures, was one of the first to found a collection of Japanese woodcuts. The ground having been so thoroughly prepared, the Paris Exposition of 1867 became in due course the scene of a decisive triumph for the art of Japan. Soon afterwards the Parisian friends of Japan formed themselves into a Société du Jinglar, which met once a month at a dinner in Sèvres.

Since the revolution of 1868, by which the Mikado's residence was transferred from the old inland capital Kioto to Tokio, till then known as Yedo, on the south coast, formerly the seat of the Shoguns (the ruling military commanders), and the feudal lords were gradually abolished, Japan, and consequently Japanese art, has been entirely open to Europeans.

  1. E. Chesneau, "Le Japon à Paris" (Gazette des Beaux Arts, 2me pér., tom, xviii. (1878), pp. 385, 841 ff.).