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Nobuo Sekine, the avant-garde Japanese sculptor and artist, passed away this week. Nevertheless, his work will be remembered for its role in catalysing Mona-ha, the post-war Japanese art movement. From 1968 through the 1970s, Nobuo Sekine put forth the ideas central to the ‘Mona-ha’ movement, which translates to the ‘School of Things’. The movement eschewed elements of contemporary, Western art and more specifically, the notion that an object’s signification could be dictated or determined by...

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A collector’s obsession with Japanese art: Hokusai reminds us of the exceptional influence his Japanese art has had on the western world.  It was the time when Vincent Van Gogh was collecting woodblock prints, many that were discarded packaging from goods shipped from Japan to Europe. As is well known, Van Gogh became strongly influenced by the style, as did many other painters of the period, including Gauguin, Monet, and Toulouse-Lautrec, and this influence from Japan changed...

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The explosion of interest in traditional Japanese art in the 1860s influenced and inspired leading Impressionists including Van Gogh, Monet and Degas.  ‘I have pinned a lot of Japanese prints on the wall which amuse me very much. You know those little women’s figures in the gardens, or on the beach, horsemen, flowers, knotty thorn branches…’ wrote Vincent Van Gogh to his brother Theo in 1885, describing his Antwerp studio. Van Gogh’s letters are perhaps...

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