Nickerson Lecture: Japan Craze

Thursday, September 17, 2015
6 p.m.

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Join us for the first in our annual Nickerson Lecture Series.  When Commodore Matthew Perry took a voyage in 1853-54 to Japan, he opened the floodgates for cultural exchanges that would profoundly affect Western art.  In the following years, Japanese artifacts flooded into Europe and America, appearing in exhibitions, stores, art collections, as well as in articles and books.  Western artists began incorporating Japanese motifs, aesthetic principles, and techniques into their work which became known as “Japonisme”.  Japanese art’s emphasis on beautiful design and hand-craftsmanship resonated with the “art for art’s sake” philosophy advocated by the Aesthetic Movement as a remedy for the ills of modern industrial life.  Styles such as Impressionism also gained inspiration from Japanese prototypes in revitalizing Western pictorial traditions. 

This lecture is part of the Driehaus Museum’s 2015 Samuel M. Nickerson Lecture Series, a program which serves to situate the Nickerson Mansion within the context of social artistic developments of the period and against the wider background of America’s Gilded Age.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for any attendees who would like to explore the Museum and its collections. The lecture begins at 6 p.m. As space is limited, advance reservations are highly recommended.

Dr. Karen Sherry
Karen Sherry has worked most recently at the Portland Art Museum in Maine as the Curator of American Art.  Previously she was at the Brooklyn Museum in New York as Associate Curator of American Art. She’s served as Assistant Curator of American Art and Project Coordinator for the Brooklyn’s Luce Visible Storage and Study Center.  In addition to her professional positions, Sherry has been the recipient of fellowships from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Winterthur Museum. She earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in Art History from the University of Delaware and a B.A. in Art History from Boston University.


Bertha Lum (American, 1879-1954). On the River, 1913. Color woodcut on off-white, medium thick, moderately textured laid Japan paper, Image: 10 1/4 x 17 11/16 in. (26 x 44.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, 63.108.8. © Estate of Bertha Lum
Mary Cassatt (American, 1844-1926). La Toilette, ca. 1891-1892. Drypoint and aquatint on laid paper, Sheet: 17 1/16 x 11 7/8 in. (43.3 x 30.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 39.107

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