1856 - Japanese goods start to appear in Europe

After Japanese ports reopened to trade with the West in 1853, Japanese goods began to appear in Europe. Ukiyo-e prints had become so common in Japan that they were used as packaging materials for more valuable artifacts. In 1856, the French artist Felix Bracquemond (1833-1914) discovered  Hokusai’s masterpiece The Hokusai Manga (1811) used as wrapping material for a consignment of porcelain.

The Japanese goods that flooded Europe and America fascinated Westerners because of their sheer novelty. Through their innovative use of asymmetrical compositions, strong diagonals and silhouettes, bold cropping techniques, and depiction of scenes of simple everyday life, Japanese prints would have a significant impact on emerging modern art movements such as Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.