10th Anniversary Exhibition
Odilon Redon and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
24 October 2020 – 17 January 2021
Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum
The Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, near Tokyo Station, is a charming place for a visit, standing on the crossroads of history and modernity.
This year, the museum specializing in modern western art is hosting a series of special shows to celebrate its tenth anniversary.
As the last of the series, the coming show will highlight two French artists, Odilon Redon and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, with the year 1894 as a common thread linking their works and the museum.
What not to miss of the “1894 Visions” exhibition
The show will display in rotation a total of some 140 works, selected from the museum’s collection and those on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts GIFU (MFAG, co-organizer of the show) and overseas.
◆The year 1894
The Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, opened in 2010, is nestled in the edifice that is a reproduction of the original Mitsubishi Ichigokan. The latter was the first Western-style office building opened in 1894 in the Marunouchi section of town, central Tokyo.
Japan at the end of the 19th century had gone through a rapid and radical process of modernization, which at the time meant, above all, the westernization of the country.
The show is set in this historical period.
At the turn of the century, artists in France such as Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) experimented with different artistic styles, departing from the Impressionism that was in vogue in the 1870s and 80s.
“L’Estampe originale” (1893 – 95), artistic album published quarterly around that period, brought together original prints by artists including Toulouse-Lautrec, Odilon Redon (1840-1916) and Gauguin.
Redon was a contemporary of those artists but parted ways with Impressionism. He pursued his own artistic style, which is considered as a precursor to surrealism.
In his 50s, Redon radically changed his style, moving from works in dark tones imbued with symbolism and mystery, to works in colorful shades, pastels and still lifes.
In the 1890s, Toulouse-Lautrec made his name as a graphic artist. His splendid prints and posters illustrate the glamorous and decadent atmosphere of the cabaret Moulin Rouge.
Returning from Tahiti to France in 1893, he launched his “Noa Noa” suite of woodcuts in 1894. Many of Gauguin’s woodcuts in the possession of MFAG are invaluable pieces printed by the artist himself.
Hosui Yamamoto (1850-1906) is a notable Japanese artist of “Western painting”, a branch of art instituted by the then Meiji Government as part of the Westernization policy.
Around 1894, Yamamoto produced “Urashima“, an oil counted among his most outstanding paintings.
One of Hosui’s teachers, Jean-Léon Gérôme of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, also taught Odilon Redon for a brief period.
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