An Eye to the East: The Influence of Japan
October 13, 2016 through 26 February 2017
In 1854 Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry established a treaty that opened trade between the United States and Japan, a nation closed to the rest of the world up until that point. Perry could not have imagined the document's far-reaching effect. Within a year, French artist Félix Bracquemond “discovered” the woodblock prints of Hokusai and circulated them among his Paris art circle. Their influence was immediate, and Cos Cob artists John Henry Twachtman, J. Alden Weir and Childe Hassam all took note. The introduction of Japanese art and culture made a tremendous splash at International Exhibitions in London (1862), Paris (1867) and Vienna (1873), and resulted in Europe’s captivation with all things Japanese.
The American Civil War delayed the introduction of Japanese art and culture in this country, but upon its introduction at the 1873 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition and the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the “exotic” Japanese aesthetic was enthusiastically embraced.
Through paintings, prints, photographs, carvings, ceramics and textiles, An Eye to the East looks at the influence of Japanese art and culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with a special emphasis on the Cos Cob art colony. The contribution of Genjiro Yeto, who studied under John Henry Twachtman at the Art Students League in New York and spent part of each year from 1895 to 1901 at the Holley House, is explored in a separate gallery and features a recent donation of his work to the Greenwich Historical Society by his granddaughter.