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Tokyo’s treasure house of Impressionist painting reopens as Artizon Museum

Former Bridgestone Museum of Art will have new focus on creativity through the ages after a three-year renovation

The former Bridgestone Museum of Art, one of Asia’s finest collections of French Impressionism, is reopening with a new name on 18 January following a three-year renovation. Artizon Museum, which occupies the first six floors of a 23-storey tower in the Kyobashi district of Tokyo, is home to the 2,800-strong collection of the Ishibashi Foundation, established in 1956 by the industrialist Shojiro Ishibashi.

Mary Cassatt's The Sun Bath (After the Bath, 1901) Courtesy of Artizon Museum

The refurbishment has created a more welcoming entrance, upgraded the interiors, and added protective features against earthquakes and flooding. The three floors of galleries—now double the size at 2,100 sq. m—will have a new focus on creativity through the ages, showing ancient and contemporary works, as well as the modern Western and Japanese art for which the museum is best known. The Tokyo-based art collective teamLab has designed digital walls showing images from the collection in the atrium.

Artizon Museum occupies the first six floors of a 23-storey tower in the Kyobashi district of Tokyo Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

Artizon opens with Artscape: the State of our Collection (18 January-31 March), 200 works from the foundation’s holdings by artists including Ingres, Cézanne, Modigliani, Kandinsky, Giacometti, Rothko, Kusama and Zao Wou-Ki. Thirty acquisitions are going on show for the first time, among them paintings by female Impressionists Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, and a 1972 posthumous bronze cast of Umberto Boccioni’s 1913 sculpture Unique Forms of Continuity in Space.

A pair of six-fold screens depicting views in and around the city of Kyoto, 17th century (Edo period) Courtesy of Artizon Museum

The year’s programme continues with Monet: Questioning Nature (11 July-25 October), a loan exhibition from the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, and Rimpa and Impressionism: Arts Produced by Urban Cultures, East and West (14 November-24 January 2021), which will compare Kyoto’s Rimpa School with French Impressionism.