Alex & I studied some about the influence of Japan on Western art when we studied Mary Cassatt. I read here the following: In 1890, Cassatt visited an exhibition of Japanese woodcuts at the Beaux-Arts Academy in Paris. She was so intrigued by the prints that she decided to do a set of prints in her own personal style. These prints are some of her most well-known works and are considered by many to be her most beautiful creations.
(Alex's print from our study of Cassatt in March 2007)
This exhibit includes a teacher's guide which can be found here. It is 42 pages long and includes a background of Japan's influence starting with Commodore Matthew Perry's arrival and the reopening of Japanese ports after over 250 years of isolation. The guide also shares reproductions of many of the paintings from the exhibit along with the texts from the wall. It is a fascinating read whether you can see the exhibit or not.