Lucky Seattleites have until December 3 to see the nice show Renegade Edo and Paris; Japanese Prints and Toulouse-Lautrec at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. No, not that Seattle Art Museum (the main art museum downtown now has a new Calder collection!) but the “old” museum up in Volunteer Park. It has mounted a terrific show combining 18th century ukiyo-e woodblock prints with 19th century Art Nouveau posters. Besides the obvious artistic influence of the earlier Japanese art on Art Nouveau a century later, the show illustrates other parallels between Edo (Tokyo) and Paris.
“As both cities faced challenges to the status quo from the rising middle classes, subversive impulses gave rise to vibrant cultures of theatregoing, pleasure seeking, and new forms of visual art.”
It’s a real treat to get to see up close the amazingly precise and exquisitely small Japanese woodcuts—and have them right next to the GIANT lithographed posters advertising Parisian shows and entertainers (you’ve seen book-sized Toulouse-Lautrec images before but they are extra-amazing when they fill a wall!)
BTW, if the Seattle Asian Art Museum looks familiar, you might remember it from the 1985 movie Trouble In Mind. It served as the location of Hilly Blue’s (Divine) mansion.