Japanese Modernism

The National Gallery of Victoria is showcasing an exclusive exhibition – Japanese Modernism that features Art Deco paintings, prints, design and fashion created between the 1923 Kanto earthquake and the devastation of World War II.  Of special interest is the way it illustrates the changing traditions as women adopted a modern Western lifestyle.

This screen depicts women preparing to go out – embracing contemporary fashion, high heeled shoes, modern hairstyling, make up, jewellery and lace.  Financial and social independence was taking hold.

The traditional kimonos were designed with modern motifs as seen here with the obi print of modern ballroom dancing.

Handbags and hair pins also became a much adopted accessory.

Women gave up wearing the traditional white make up and were quick to take up Western make up and cosmetics.  Shiseido was one of the first brands to enter the market and is featured in the exhibition with the inclusion of the Art Deco face powder box seen below

Periodical magazines offered lifestyle advice, fashion tips, film reviews and articles on personalities and events.

In addition the exhibition shows wonderful paintings and posters capturing highly fashionable and confident women embracing a new and liberated lifestyle that included sports, travel and an independence previously unattainable.

Modern women were shown in graphic design as illustrated on music scores pictured below. Bobbed hairstyles, shaded faces and alluring eyes were set amongst wonderful Art Deco graphic design.

Japanese Modernism features additional works including rare paintings, striking kimono, intricate woodblock prints and decorative art objects.  The exhibition will be on display at NGV International from 28 February – 4 October 2020.  Entry is free.

Click here to view video clip:

Further information is available via the NGV website.