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The Painting of Sadness? The Beginnings and Ends of Nihonga

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Published on Dec 2, 2013

Lecture Date: November 14, 2013
Speaker: Chelsea Foxwell (Assistant Professor, Art History, University of Chicago)

The term nihonga ("Japanese painting") arose in the 1880s, when the notion of a national school of art enjoyed widespread currency. Recently, artists have increasingly probed the boundaries between nihonga and Japanese contemporary art in general, raising doubts about whether nihonga should continue to exist at all. This question is not as new as we might assume. From its earliest years, the idea of modern Japanese-style painting was bound up with images of the death of Japanese art. This begs the question of why, nonetheless, nihonga has enjoyed such a long and prosperous life.

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