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Japanese athletes moreover became increasingly

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Unformatted text preview: here in Europe duly introduced each movement to their country, though not necessarily in any coherent order. Western-style art was by this time firmly implanted in Japan, and even centered on an official establishment located in the branch of the Ministry of Education responsible for the sponsorship of national art exhibitions. One of the pillars of this establishment was Kuroda Seiki, the Impressionist-influenced The Fruits of Modernity 285 painter who, as noted, was active in introducing Western art to Japan during the last years of the nineteenth century. Like their contemporary European counterparts, the establishment artists of Japan were startled and shocked by the extreme radicalism of, for example, the Fauvist use of raw, “barbaric” colors and the Cubist reduction of art to geometric lines and planes, and they sought to exclude work based on such techniques and principles from the national exhibitions sponsored by the Ministry of Education. The response of the Japanese avant-garde artists was to withdraw from affiliation with the establishment and to go their private ways by forming societies for joint study and exhibitions. In the history of Western art the critical transition stage between nineteenth-century Impressionism and these radical movements that branched into the modern art of the twentieth century was the painting of the Post-Impressionists—Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin. These men had recognized the limitations of Impressionism, which was concerned primarily with optical problems and with rendering nature “as it is really seen,” and they sought, in their own individualistic ways, new content or meaning in art other than purely pictorial representation. Thus Cézanne’s work led to Cubism, Van Gogh’s to Expressionism, and Gauguin’s to various forms of Primitivism (including Fauvism).15 The Japanese avantgarde artists and intellectuals of the early twentieth century were, in fact, not very sensitive to the distinctions between one school or movement of modern Western art and another. They appear to have responded more to particula...
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