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Zen Nouveau: New Year's Greetings from Early 20th-Century Japan

The beginning of world travel had a great influence on art. When Japan started to open up to the West, Europeans were enamored with the culture, including art. But influence also traveled the other way. You can see the influence in a collection of Japanese postcards from the early 20th century. U.S. postcard collector Ken Reed shares them with us.

According to Reed, who cautions that he’s “not a scholar,” the European Art Nouveau aesthetic found its way to the Land of the Rising Sun via a group of Japanese artists who attended the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. “They brought Art Nouveau back with them and incorporated it into what was happening in Japan.”

As a former postcard and stamp dealer, Reed the collector could have gone down the latter path, but he chose postcards instead. “You don’t have to have perfect perforations and rare cancellations,” he says of the exacting standards of stamp collecting. “With postcards, you get to focus on the art side of the card instead of where it went and how it got there. That’s what I like about them.”

See a selection of Reed’s beautiful postcards at Collectors Weekly.

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