Kimonos in Western Art

Kimono Girl paintings by Dutch artist Breitner

girl in white kimono by Breitner

In 1893 George Hendrik Breitner started work on a series of richly coloured paintings of a Dutch girl dressed in Japanese kimonos.

These 'kimono still lifes' all featured the same, dreamy 16-year-old girl, Geesje Kwak, a hat-seller in Amsterdam.

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Tags: japanese kimono | japonisme | Western art | painting

Whistler and the kimono

Whistler_The Princess from the Land of Porcelain_detail

In the 1850s, after centuries of seclusion, Japan suddenly opened its doors to the West. Japanese porcelain and prints began to appear in Parisian shops and galleries and a wave of interest in things japonais flooded the French capital. A young American artist living in Paris, James McNeill Whistler, was especially intrigued. As he pored over ancient Japanese prints depicting courtesans wearing kimonos, an item of clothing hitherto unknown in the West, he had the idea of painting his mistress Joanna in this loose and exotic robe. He posed her looking at prints by the famous Japanese artist Hiroshige, in front of a gilded Japanese screen. This painting, The Golden Screen (see below), was one of the first to show a Western woman wearing Asian dress.

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Tags: Whistler | japonisme | kimono | Hiroshige | Hokusai | Japan | Fuji | Western | Western art | painting

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