Contemporary Japanese artist inspired by Alfred Sisley: Japanese eyes and cultural warning

Contemporary Japanese artist inspired by Alfred Sisley: Japanese eyes and cultural warning

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The artist Alfred Sisley painted many adorable landscapes through the medium of impressionism. Yet, to many individuals with limited knowledge of art, his name remains relatively unknown in comparison with other impressionist artists. However, this doesn’t distract from the elegant art he produced throughout his life.

Sawako Utsumi, who hails from modern Japan, respects the intricacies of Sisley who produced many exquisite landscapes. Impressionism also remains powerful in modern Japan. Therefore, Utsumi focuses on tranquility and an almost mythical view of modern France that is blighted by many ills – from high crime to Islamist terrorism that is altering the image of this nation.

Equally important, many famous Japanese artists viewed France with utmost respect after the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Hence, many late nineteenth and early twentieth century artists from Japan resided in Paris – and other parts of France – for various periods of time. In this sense, the power of French culture remains vivid in Japan in the area of art, architecture, fashion, food, and other areas.

Utsumi, interestingly, omits the shadow of the buildings that twinkle in the river by Sisley (original by Alfred Sisley below). Also, fascinatingly, Utsumi pronounces the Christian cross in the art piece that is titled, “Japan Artist and the Radiant Nuance Inspired by Alfred Sisley.”

Equally noticeable, Utsumi’s cloudy sky punctuated by a lovely sky blue is more optimistic and feels warm. The same can be said about the buildings looking modern, progressive, and in tune with hope and continuity. However, Utsumi offsets the river by a storm that may be in the making. Therefore, is the Christian cross a warning that a new darker Sunni Islamist faith seeks to usurp the rich traditions of France?

Overall, a very stunning art piece!


Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters – Please click on to order the book.

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