Blog post alert: The archive of the now defunct blog for Firestone Library's Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University has a post on Color separation for Scribner's Magazine 1905. Anyone seriously interested in the techniques used would have to search further, but its a good quick look at how colored illustrations were produced for magazines at the turn of the 20th C—including this shopper by Walter Jack Duncan for H. G. Dwight's article, "An Impressionist's New York," in Scribner's (November 1905). And by the way, doesn't she add panache to a gloomy November day?
Picturing a World
Is this a delicious scene, or what? The high life, for sure—including that androgynous figure on the right in spats with a lady's at his/her feet. I can imagine the picture's sparking any number of stories set in a park or one about the discovery of a talented relative's forgotten watercolor in an attic. The artist Thea Proctor is a certainly a discovery for me. (I love it that she painted fans.) I keep thinking, moreover, that the Australian art scene as a whole bears investigating. Learning Resources: Australian Impressionism would be a good place to start! And for more about Proctor, click here.
Okay, so not a female artist, but I couldn't resist William McGregor Paxton's portrait of a woman in a kimono contemplating a Japanese doll. (A female artist connection: the model may be his wife, painter Elizabeth Vaughan Okie.) What's useful to me in my musing on Japonisme as part of Jeanette's story is the way the picture can lead to thoughts about how a particular woman might react privately to a particular Japanese object. Is this Jeanette or one of her friends? Does the character hold a doll or teacup? What is the emotion aroused in her? in the reader? Looked at this way, there's no need worry about the Male Gaze or other scholoraly or critical criteria. As for the golden frame, well, of course, I had to include it when I took a screen shot!
Image via Sotheby's.
Blog post alert: Japonisme in Fashion. The title says it all. The images range from artists' works to actual garments (including a gowns and cloaks by the House of Worth) to historical photos to this poster for Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado. And for a more scholarly article, be sure to consult Esther Sophia Sünderhauf's The Influence of Japonism on the Parisian Fashion Journals 1860-1900.
It's not hard to find 19thC depictions of women wearing kimonos painted by male artists—Monet, Stevens, Whistler, Chase. But what interests me as I think about how Japonisme might touch my character, Jeanette, is the extent to which female artists drew or painted them. Et voilà, in addition to Marie Danforth Page—Fanny Fleury! She even studied with Carolus-Duran.
Blog post alert: The Origins of L'Art Nouveau: The Bing Empire is firing off all sorts of little explosions in my mind as Japonisme becomes my entry into a What-Came-Next for Jeanette. Take ornamental combs: Was there a connection between Japanese combs and pompadour hairstyles? No answer to that one yet, but a quick Google search led me to Historic Hair Accessories We Can't Stop Thinking About. It's worth a look just for the breadth and excellence of its images. For this particular comb, see also the object page at the V&A.
Following up on Christine Guth's book on The Great Wave, I'm looking into Western female artists, who depicted women wearing kimonos or other Japonisme-influenced garments. For instance, Marie Danforth Page! This picture of a craftswoman at the turn of the 20th C in a gorgeous house-robe fits right into interweaving strands of inspiration for my fiction. She even painted herself in a blue-and-white kimono.
Image via Wikipedia Commons.
For those of us who love textiles, fashion history, and a good treasure story, who can resist The Dress Diary of Mrs. Anne Sykes by Kate Strasdin? Isn't that swatch in the middle positively Klimt? For the story of how Strasdin discovered an album of textile swatches by chance at a market stall, click here.
I came across Around the Christmas Tree when it turned up as a jigsaw puzzle among the activities in Jacquie Lawson's deliciously sentimental Advent Calendar. It's from the French fashion magazine, Art, Goût, Beauté, which was published in Paris from 1920 to 1933. In handsome, hand-colored, stencil images, the magazine illustrated designs by such couturiers as Jean Patou and Paul Poiret. I couldn't find the 1923 issue on line, but you can see the December 1922 issue in full here.