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I believe that what you are referring to is known as Japonism, or Japonisme (the original term in French). This represents "the craze for Japanese culture and art." Japanese art influenced famous Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Toullouse-Lautrec, and Paul Gauguin. Japanese "wood-block prints" were of great interest to the artistic community in Europe. It began with the Kanagawa treaty between an American delegation and "the Japanese shogunate government," in 1854. After two-hundred and sixteen years of isolation, the flow of "Japanese artifacts and handicraft articles" into Europe took off. Foreign merchants began to travel to Japan and export Japanese art and even "photography and printing techniques." Even at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, in 1867, there was a Japanese Exhibit. Soon, having things Japanese was a sign of style and sophistication.
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