The Matsukata Collection: A One-Hundred-Year Odyssey

National Museum Of Western Art, Tokyo

poster for The Matsukata Collection: A One-Hundred-Year Odyssey
[Image: Vincent Van Gogh “Bedroom in Arles” (1889) oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay]

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Between 1916 and around 1927, as his business rode a soaring demand for ships, due to the First World War, Kojiro Matsukata (1866-1950), head of Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd., Kobe (present-day Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.), used his wealth to purchase a large number of artworks, mainly in London and Paris. The original Matsukata Collection ranged over different periods, regions, and genres: paintings by Monet, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, modern British paintings, sculptures by Rodin, medieval panel paintings, and tapestries. If the approximately 8,000 ukiyo-e prints he recovered from the West are included, the collection came to around 10,000 items.

This exhibition, celebrating the museum’s 60th anniversary, traces the century-long journey of the Matsukata Collection––buffeted by the waves of turbulent times. The 160 or so artworks on display include some of the masterpieces from among the works dispersed in and outside Japan, such as the renowned Bedroom in Arles by Van Gogh and Water Lilies, Reflections of Weeping Willows by Monet, the latter rediscovered in Paris as recently as 2016. They are shown along with a variety of historical materials.

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from June 11, 2019 to September 23, 2019

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