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Firing the Imagination: Japanese Influence on French Ceramics, 1860-1910

August 31, 2024–May 26, 2025

This exhibition brings together notable examples of French ceramics that demonstrate tremendous innovation in the field of artistic pottery from the 1860s to 1910s. European artists during this period were deeply influenced by Japanese art, including woodblock prints, ceramics, textiles, and lacquerwares, which poured into Europe following the forced reopening of Japan’s ports to foreign trade in the 1850s. Part of a broader cultural phenomenon that came to be known as “Japonisme,” artists such as Félix Bracquemond, Ernest Chaplet, Théodore Deck, François Laurin, and Albert-Louis Dammouse incorporated subjects, decorations, and forms inspired by Japanese art into their ceramics while also experimenting with new techniques like barbotine (a method of decorating ceramics with colored clay slips) and glazes imitating highly prized examples of East Asian ceramics.

The works on view come from the collection of Larry A. Simms, a retired New Jersey public schoolteacher who amassed one of the most important private collections of “Japonisme” ceramics in the United States, many of which he has now donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Main Building

Free with museum admission

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Alisa Chiles, Assistant Curator, Modern and Contemporary Design
Colin Fanning, Assistant Curator, European Decorative Arts
Jennifer Thompson, The Gloria and Jack Drosdick Curator of European Painting and Sculpture and Curator of the John G. Johnson Collection

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