Vincent Van Gogh was an avid collector of Japanese prints, and many of his compositions demonstrate his interest in Japanese culture. The work demonstrates that Van Gogh was looking at the work of Hokusai and Hiroshige. We can see this as well as other artistic influences in The Sower of 1888. Many scholars have noted that this subject is based on the work of the French Barbizon painter, Millet who produced The Sower thirty years before Van Gogh painted it. Millet, like Van Gogh, wanted to challenge the art world by celebrating subjects of everyday life. I am going to show the examples of these four artists’ works and talk about the similarity of their use of color, line, and composition. It is interesting to note that French and Japanese societies had a class system that influenced the art that was produced in both cultures. Citizens were under the control of either the bourgeoisie or a Samurai warrior. Nevertheless, few authors have attempted to investigate the similarities between the concerns of Japanese printmakers and Realist painters such as Millet and their possible influence on Van Gogh. This will be the focus of my paper.
Hiromi Nakazawa, ’01 Yamanashi, Japan
Sponsor: Christina McOmber