THE JAPANESE INFLUENCE IN AMERICA by Clay Lancaster

THE JAPANESE INFLUENCE IN AMERICA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A gift item and a good reference; beautifully illustrated (some in color), lovingly assembled; it traces the influence of Japanese art and architecture upon the cultural climate of America from the mid-19th century to the present. Was the influence great and did it fit the democratic dream? As if in answer the author notes the remark of Frank Lloyd Wright as he looked over Hokusai and Hiroshige: ""It was my own stuff!"" he exclaimed. And that sums it up. For the transplanted and transformed flowering of the mode a la japonaise found ready-made roots both in the American spirit and the evolving social scene; it was in reality ""a further development"" of what various indigenous craftsmen were or had been aiming toward. Such musings, though, are limited; the book being essentially a catalogue of past or present examples (the California bungalow; the housing efforts of Johnson and Neutra; the paintings of Whistler and Tobey; styles in landscape and decoration) which demonstrate how far Japanese imitation or inspiration went or goes. There are also comments on the critical concerns of Harada, Taut, Conder, etc. The author hasn't much of a nose for narrative but he's got a dandy eye for detail, and on that count he informs and illuminates no end. A devotee's delight.

Publisher: Twayne