Hardly any craze had a more lasting impact on the artists of the late nineteenth century than »Japonisme«. In imagery from Edo (present-day Tokyo), they encountered the vibrant world of theatre, the entertainment districts and fashion. It was primarily in the medium of the colour woodblock print that these »scenes from the flowing world« (ukiyo-e) – as the pictures were called – made their way to Europe, where they sparked the enthusiasm of artists and collectors alike.
Concurrently with the exhibition »Flora Awakening: Masterworks from the Collection of Arthur and Hedy Hahnloser-Bühler«, the Staatsgalerie’s Department of Prints, Drawings and Photographs mounted a presentation of Japanese colour woodblock prints from its own holdings. The juxtaposition with works by such European artists as Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard, Paul Gauguin or Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – precisely those artists represented in the Hahnloser collection – provided insights into how the beauty and expressive force of the colourful Japanese prints, with their curved lines, simultaneous perspective and exuberant ornamentation, inspired them in their search for new forms of Expression.