Description & Technical information

Like several of his contemporaries, Henry Somm developed a fascination with Japan. He studied the Japanese language and in the early 1870s had planned a trip to Japan that had to be abandoned with the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war. He was friendly with the pioneering ‘Japoniste’ art critic and collector Philippe Burty, and often used oriental motifs in his work. Indeed, Somm became one of the earliest artistic exponents of Japonisme, his work in this genre first developed in his illustrations accompanying a series of articles by Burty under the general title of ‘Japonisme’, published in the magazine L’Art in 1875 and 1876. As the Somm scholar Elizabeth Menon has noted of the artist, ‘His fascination with Japanese art is manifested in countless drawings, watercolors, and etchings that depict Japanese geishas, street scenes, and gardens, as well as Oriental objets d’art.’

Medium: Watercolour, Laid down on an old mount.
Signature: Signed Hy. Somm at the lower right.

Dimensions: 10 x 18.2 cm (3⁷/₈ x 7¹/₈ inches)
Provenance: Eric G. Carlson, New York
Thence by descent.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints