Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art Tokyo

by Stefan Chiarantano, Mar 17, 2007 | Destinations: Japan / Tokyo

I spent a lovely afternoon taking in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art Tokyo.  The was my second visit.  I was here a few years before to see the Van Gogh exhibit.  On exhibit are the works of Japan's artists spanning from the Meiji period to the present.  You start on the fourth floor and work your way down.  And there's a lounge on the fourth floor that provides a breathtaking view of the Imperial gardens across the street. So, you can take a break and take in the views.

As mentioned, the museum highlights mainly the works of Japanese artists from the Meiji period to the present but it also features the works of Paul Klee, Alexander Rodchenko, Wassily Kandinsky, Francis Bacon, Jean Dubuffet and Bertrand Lavier to name a few.

The museum pays homage to its own as it should.  A country should honour its own artists.  The museum reminds me of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum which also honours its own.  Now, I wish Canada did the same.  Come to think of it, it's probably asking too much, so, banish the thought.

How happy I was to come across the works of some of my favourite Japanese artists.  They include:

An Apple Exists on Top of A Pot


Kishida, Ryusei (1891-1929)

Portrait of Vasilii Yaroshenko


Nakamura, Tsune (1887-1924)

Maiko in a Garden


Tsuchida Bakusen (1887-1936)

Street in Paris


Fujita Tsuguharu (1886-1968)

Five Nudes


Fujita, Tsuguharu

Street Performers


Togo, Seiji (1897 - 1978)

Gas Lamp and Advertisements


Saeki, Yuzo (1898 - 1928)

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Actually, there are many more works which appealed to me.  Their scope of subject matter and technique (Western and traditional) left me breathless at times. I also loved the artwork of Azechi, Umetaro (1902-1999).  There's a small gallery devoted to his works. 

There are two photographs on exhibit by Shiihara, Osamu (1905-1974) that intrigued me.  They are:


From "Wandering Jews"

This is a black and white photograph of a middle-aged man asleep on a bench.  He's dressed in his best.  He's unshaven.  He's curled up.  His felt hat is partially covering his face.



From "Wandering Jews"

This is a black and white photograph of a group of men.  Two men are sitting on a bench in the foreground.  Five men are seated in the mid-group.  The man in the middle in the mid-ground is looking at the camera.  He's embracing the man on his left who is looking at him.  They are all dressed in business attire.  I wondered if they escaped the horror of the Nazi death camps.  I hope they did.

I also enjoyed seeing the photography of Hiromi, Tsuchida (1939 - ) called "An Autistic Space" from 1970.  These black and white slightly blurred photographs of portraits and urban scenes were very appealing. 

So, if you have an interest in Japanese art, it's definitely worth visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art Tokyo.

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