Presented by Nancy Green, the Gale and Ira Drukier Curator of European and American Art, Prints, and Drawings, 1800–1945, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University 

This lecture explores the interaction between American and Japanese aesthetics from 1875 to 1915. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, American artists and craftsmen felt a strong attraction to the art of Japan. It was an attraction of opposites, an escape to a topsy-turvy realm where whatever seemed to ail the West—alienation from nature, shoddiness in industrial manufacture, rigidity of gender roles, missed opportunities for adventure—seemed to be redeemed in a land where past was present.

Americans followed several trajectories to arrive in Japan—actually or vicariously. For some, the conduit was Europe, particularly Paris, where Japanese art had a major impact. Others were intrigued by exposure to Japanese art through books and conversations. Most Americans, however, discovered Japan at world’s fairs in the United States. “Japanism,” the craze for a Japanese aesthetic, contributed to numerous art movements, including Impressionism, Arts and Crafts, Aestheticism, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco.

Drop in! This lecture is free. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. A reception to meet the speaker follows.

► Plan ahead for your visit with parking information.


The Annual HADA Lecture receives generous funding from the Houston Antiques Dealers Association Endowment at the MFAH.