I was excited by Sara Winkleblack’s painting and the importance of her sky symbolizing her search for stars. Sara’s sky reminded me of van Gogh’s “Starry Starry Night.” I can see the influence of Japanese art in his and Sara’s paintings. Influenced by Japanese yukiyo-e 浮世絵 – pictures of a floating world – better known as wood cut prints.
The Impressionists and post-Impressionists were attracted to Japan’s art, it was new and unlike anything they knew in Western art. Prior to the 1850s, Japan had been isolated from the rest of the world. In 1854, with a strong push from the American navy, Japan was forced to open its ports to the Americans and the Europeans. In 1867, the World Exposition of Paris, introduced Japanese art and culture to the French.
Japanese wood cut prints showed a strong emphasis on nature and were treated with with bold colors and simple lines. And Vincent van Gogh was smitten with those prints. So taken was he with the new art, that he and his brother collected more than 400 wood block prints.
Blossoming Almond Tree looks very much like Japanese art of the 18th and 19th century.