CSPWC G7 OSA RCA
1890 - 1945
oil on board
on verso dated 1918, inscribed "OS137" and stamped with the estate stamp
10 x 12 in 25.4 x 30.5 cm
Estate of the Artist
By descent to the present Private Collection, Toronto
A crucial element of modern art’s genesis was Japonisme. The French term describes the flood of Japanese influence into western art following the ending of the 220-year Japanese cultural policy of sakoku (“closed country”) in 1853. Artists such as James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Vincent van Gogh were inspired by the decorative flatness, patterning and fluidity of Japanese watercolours and woodblocks by artists like Katsushika Hokusai, which would fundamentally change how art in Europe was perceived and made.
Franklin Carmichael’s studies in Brussels prior to World War I would have exposed him to those influences, and in addition to his career-long engagement with the mediums of woodblock and watercolour, examples of his artworks from the years following his return to Canada strongly suggest the impact of Japonisme. As is beautifully displayed in Tangled Trees from 1918, the organic patterns of the foreground screen of trees lend an aspect of decorative, modern flatness, contrasting with the depth and complexity of the rest of the composition. Paired with an approach informed by a career in commercial design, this early influence forms an important element of Carmichael’s indelible style.
Available for viewing at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave
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