Emil Orlik (1870 – 1932)
The painter and graphic artist Emil Orlik was one of the first European artists to undertake a journey to the roots of Japonisme. From Vienna in 1900 he travels from Genoa via Hong Kong to Japan. Dur ing his tenmonth stay Orlik was especially fasci nated by the old imperial city of Kyoto. In addition to woodcuts, lithographs and watercolors he produced rare pastels and gouaches, one of which is the “Old Garden in Kyoto”. The view of a temple garden shows in exemplary fashion the influence of the design principles and novel aesthetics of Japanese color woodcuts. Despite the flat composition, the uniform intensity of the color and the flowing contour line and ornamental treat ment of nature, Orlik remains true to his European tradition with his suggested spatial illusion and symmetrical arrangement. Although the heyday of Japonisme had passed by the time Orlik’s Japan works were completed, they nonetheless had a great resonance. The works that he produced under the influence of his Japan trip are undoubtedly a high point in Orlik’s career.