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Unformatted text preview: tive work in these years that Fenollosa and others were able to buy up at very low prices the vast number of
art pieces that still constitute the core of many major Japanese collections in foreign museums today.
Fenollosa gave lectures to private groups in Japan extolling the glories
of Japanese art and even pronouncing it to be superior to the art of the
West. He and Okakura also founded a Society for the Appreciation of
Painting (Kangakai) and urged the Meiji government to sponsor training
in the native artistic styles. Two results of their lobbying were the discontinuance of the Western-oriented Industrial Art School in 1883 and
the substitution of brush painting for pencil drawing in public school art
courses. But the greatest achievement of Fenollosa and Okakura was their
role in the creation in 1889 of the government-backed Tokyo Art School
(Tòkyò Bijutsu Gakkò), devoted exclusively to training in Far Eastern
art. In 1886–87, Fenollosa and Okakura had traveled to Europe to study
methods of art education and museum administration, and within a few
years after their return, Okakura became head of the Tokyo Art School.
Of these two dynamic men who led the return to Japanese art in the
1880s, Fenollosa was by far the more inflexible. A transparent Japanophile so far as art was concerned, he also sought to impose on others his
personal biases within the realm of Japanese art. For example, while he
admired the Kanò school of painting, he viewed with distaste the literati
movement of the middle and late Tokugawa period. Largely because of
this preference on the part of a foreigner, it appears, no study of the
bunjin painters was included in the curriculum of the Tokyo Art School.
Okakura, on the other hand, was very similar in sentiment to a number
of his contemporaries who have been noted in this chapter, including the
“national essence” intellectuals, the novelist Ozaki Kòyò, and the haikutanka poet Masaoka Shiki. All of these men were participants in the
Japanist reaction of the 1880s and 1890s; and, although not all of them
may have succeeded very well in their aim...
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- Spring '13