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Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints

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© Courtesy of Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints

5550 S. Greenwood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
October 4th, 2012 - January 20th, 2013
Opening: October 3rd, 2012 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

QUICK FACTS
WEBSITE:  
http://smartmuseum.uchicago.edu/
NEIGHBORHOOD:  
South Side
EMAIL:  
smart-museum@uchicago.edu
PHONE:  
773-702-0200
OPEN HOURS:  
Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun 10-5; Thu 10-8
TAGS:  
color printmaking

DESCRIPTION

The rise of color printmaking in France in the late nineteenth century is often attributed to a fascination with Japanese woodblock prints, which began to circulate in great numbers after the opening of Japan in 1854. But a closer look at the history of color printmaking in these two cultures reveals that the story is not so simple. Parallel traditions were flourishing in both France and Japan well before 1854. And, when the two cultures met, the channels of technical and aesthetic influence flowed in both directions, not merely from East to West.

Embracing these complexities, Awash in Color explores the roles, functions, and technology of color in French and Japanese prints. It features more than one hundred and thirty prints and illustrated books dating from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, drawn from the Smart Museum’s substantial holdings as well as major public and private collections across the country. These exquisite works reveal two unfolding traditions—each shaped by artistic experimentation and technological progress—that came to complement each other aesthetically, even while preserving their own distinctive features.