Henri Rivière, Japonsime, and Les Trente-Six Vues de la Tour Eiffel
Metadata[+] Show full item record
Les Trente-Six Vues de la Tour Eiffel is a bound book that contains 36 lithographs by Henri Rivière printed in 1902. These lithographs reflect the social, political, and artistic changes that had occurred in Paris by the end of the nineteenth century. The lithographs also reflect the powerful influence of Japonisme, the study of Japanese art and design by European artists, in the latter half of the nineteenth century. While many have noted Rivière’s local and global influences, none have fully examined the broader societal forces in the latter half of the nineteenth century that shaped Rivière’s work. Those forces included technical advances in lithograph printing; the extensive reshaping of Paris under Emperor Napoleon III and his prefect of the Seine, Georges-Eugène Haussmann, from 1853 to 1870; the rise of flânerie; and an increased interest by artists and writers to portray the city of Paris as a primary theme. Rivière was particularly inspired by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai and his book Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji, printed between 1830 and 1832. Hokusai, in this series, used Mt. Fuji as the common element that oriented and unified his landscape prints. Similarly, Rivière chose the Eiffel Tower to orient and unify his lithograph series of Paris, Les Trente-Six Vues de la Tour Eiffel. This thesis uses a formal evaluation of Rivière’s plates in comparison with the Japanese woodblock prints and other sources that may have served as his inspiration. Although there are many similarities in subject and composition between individual plates in Les Trente-Six Vues de la Tour Eiffel and Japanese woodblock prints, Rivière did not produce a slavish, European replication of Hokusai’s masterpiece. Rivière particularly differed from Hokusai by depicting themes of individual isolation and alienation in an urban environment in his lithographs that reflected the anxiety over modernization felt by many Parisians at the fin-du-siècle. In the end, Rivière produced one of the purest examples of Japonisme in Western art and a remarkable portrait of Paris at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- The Transformation of Paris -- Le Flâneur in Paris -- Early life of Henri Rivière -- Japonisme and its influence on French artists -- Henri Rivière and Japanese woodblock prints -- La Tour Eiffel -- Henri Rivière woodblock printing, and lithography -- A note on lithography and its importance -- Lithography and Les Trente-six Vues de la Tour Eiffel -- Conclusions -- Appendix: Discussion of the Individual Plates
M.A. (Master of Arts)