I found some beautiful paintings in Edo period (1600-1866) by a Western artist named Robert Frederick Blum. His colorful paintings of Edo period could describe living ordinary people’s lives or visual scenes in those days Japan, which were kind of hard to convey with photograph.
The picture above entitled ” 飴屋（ameya)” portrayed a peddler who selled candy to the children on the street. He was breathing into the candy like a g lassblowing to shape it into a bird or other animals. The children were waiting for emerging a tiny artwork from his fingers in the end while gazing intently. They are very cute! It is interesting that every girl gave her younger sister or brother a piggyback ride. Caring them seems to be children’s routine job in the time.
It is said that Robert Frederick Blum, a 19th century painter, had desired to go to Japan some day, since he was inspired by Japanese cultures at the Philadelphia Expo in 1876. 14 years later, in 1890, he was invited the third Domestic Kangyo Expo in Ueno Japan. It made him decide to stay Japan for three years and had drawn many paintings filled with an Edo period atmosphere.
The Picture of “花市場（Hana ichiba=flower market）” portrayed a flower seller wearing “chonmage” who had a smoke taking time out from his business, or the women shopping around for the flowers. According to different records, the Japanese people of the day loved flowers very much. They would plant many flowers in their tiny yard or enjoyed to put potted plants and Bonsais on the veranda.
Beautiful pictures made by an American artist in the Edo period
Robert Frederick Blum
Robert Frederick Blum (9 July 1857 – 8 June 1903) was an American artist born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was one of the youngest members of the National Academy of Design, was President of the Painters in Pastel, a member of the Society of American Artists, and the American Watercolor Society.
He visited Japan in 1890 and spent three years there. He had been interested in that country and its art for many years.
A Daughter of Japan, drawn by Blum and William Jacob Baer, was the cover of Scribner’s Magazine for May 1893, and was one of the earliest pieces of color printing for an American magazine. In Scribner’s for 1893 appeared also his Artist’s Letters from Japan. He was an admirer of Mariano Fortuny, whose methods somewhat influenced his work.(from wikipedia)