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Art Talk Live: Reframing Japonisme

This photograph shows six vertical rectangular panels hinged together against a gray background. Each panel features a vertical rectangular painting showing different birds, flowers, and landscape elements placed on a gold background.
Watanabe Seitei, Birds and Flowers of the Twelve Months, Japanese, Meiji era, c. 1890. Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on silk. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Acquired with a fund established by Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane for the purchase of Asian art, 2020.252. Image: Courtesy of Grace Tsumugi Gallery.

Gallery Talk

The fable of the 19th-century European “discovery” of Japanese prints and their catalytic effect on Impressionist painting is by now comfortably worn, threadbare even. But what were painters in Europe actually encountering?

In this talk, curator Rachel Saunders will take a close look at a major new acquisition that shines a distinctly different light on European interest in “Japanese art,” and the ways in which this new category was constructed in Japan itself.

Led by:
Rachel Saunders, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Curator of Asian Art, Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art

This talk is part of a series inspired by ReFrame, a museum-wide initiative to reimagine the function, role, and future of the university art museum. These talks examine difficult histories, foreground untold stories, and experiment with new approaches to the collections of the Harvard Art Museums, reflecting the concerns of our world today.

This talk will take place online via Zoom. Free admission, but registration is required. To register, please complete this online form.

For instructions on how to join a meeting in Zoom, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact am_register@harvard.edu.

Art Talks Live are presented via Zoom every other Tuesday at 12:30pm (ET) and offer an up-close look at works from our collections with our team of curators, conservators, fellows, and graduate students.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at am_register@harvard.edu at least 48 hours in advance.