The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This article, published in Revista Moderna [Modern Magazine]?which contributed to the rise of modern art criticism (in particular of the kind inspired by Charles Baudelaire and by the French parameters)?sketches a brief history of Japanese painting. It is a review of sorts of the classic book on the subject written by Louise Gozne, from which José Juan Tablada even copied the illustrations. The Mexican poet begins with examples from the eighth century; he then stresses the importance of Moronobu, the painter and printmaker who founded the ukiyo-e school; and ends with a couple of his top artists, who are also the favorites of most western devotees of Japanism: "Hokusai, the naturalist painter, and Utamaro, the one who painted women".
Ukiyo-e art's references--to local landscape, customs, and people--introduced many European artists and theoreticians to a rewarding way of approaching local subject matter, as long as it was done in an original way, using "universally" understandable codes (in other words, in a western way.) Eroticism was obviously another important reference. In Mexico, José Juan Tablada (1871-1945) was the critic grasping the lessons taught on this subject by many European scholars, whose works Tablada collected in his famous library. This essay, that reveals an enthusiastic author with scholarly ambitions, also reveals the critic who, a few years later, would see a Japanese influence in Jorge Enciso’s murals, and a sort of Mexican Utamaro and Toulouse-Lautrec in the morbid cartoons by José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949). Along with Animalism, Monsterism and other modern ideas (almost all inspired by Charles Baudelaire), Japanism was an influential factor in the production of this modernista author, who turned to local sources in search of the universality of Mexican art. At this stage, Tablada’s writing evokes the spirit of José Vasconcelos (1882-1959) who wrote Estética [Aesthetics] (which suggested that the landscape and the women of the Americas could be seen as a source of original expression) and La raza cósmica [The Cosmic Race] (1925); Tablada's ouvre is also reminiscent of other Latin American writers who were inspired by modernismo and by José Enrique Rodó's book Ariel, and who believed in cultural phenomena of Americanism as a symbol of the continent's identity and projection. See complementary text on the Far East (doc. 778175).