Five Modernism Painter Who Discovered Theirs Idea in Japanese Art

1. Vincent Van Gogh
While in Paris, Van Gogh was exposed to a myriad of artistic styles, including the Japanese woodblock print, or “ukiyo-e.” These prints were only made available in the West in the mid-nineteenth century. Van Gogh collected works by Japanese ukiyo-e masters like Hiroshige and Hokusai and claimed these works were as important as works by European artists, like Rubens and Rembrandt.

Van Gogh was inspired to create this particular painting by a reproduction of a print by Keisai Eisen that appeared on the May 1886 cover of the magazine Paris Illustré. Van Gogh enlarges Eisen’s image of the courtesan, placing her in a contrasting, golden background bordered by a lush water garden based on the landscapes of other prints he owned.