Sunday, the 26th, was the last opportunity to see it, and as it happened, K had business in Tokyo again. This time her appointment was in the morning and we encountered no transportation problems. So, by mid-day her business was done and we were at the Bunkamura museum in the Shibuya-ku section of Tokyo. Bunkamura is a private museum built next to and connected with the Tokyu department store there. They have no permanent collections, but rather book art exhibits from museums which do as well as offer concerts, dance performances, and films.
The exhibit consisted of eighty paintings by twenty-two artists. They belong to the Pola Museum of Art which is located in Hakone, an area to the west of Tokyo at the foot of Mt Fuji that is famous for its onsen (hot spring) resorts. I reluctantly post a few pics of paintings. They are all wrong of course - the sizes, textures, light, colors. Still, I can't very well write about an art exhibit and not show at least a hint of what I saw.
I love impressionist art and the Pola has a great collection. There were some ten works by Renior including "Girl in a Lace Hat", which is stunning to see in person. Well, all of them were amazing in person compared to the pictures of them one sees in a book. There were sixteen by Monet. Other familiar names were represented of course - Cezanne, van Gogh, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec. Pontillist paintings by Seurat, Signac, Pisarro, Cross and Petitjean were there too. And there were other artists I was not so familiar with, but found delightful as well such as Redon, Sisley, Sidaner and Bonnard.
There is a connection between European impressionist art and Japanese art. In the late 19th century, Japan was opening up to the world (the Meiji Restoration) and things Japanese were all the rage in Europe. The style of Japanese art with its bold use of primary colors had a big influence on artists in Europe at the time.
One of my favorite artists, Paul Gauguin, had four of his paintings on display, two of them from his days in Tahiti. If you have read my post "The Forgotten Islands" you may recalll that it was Gauguin's works that later brought artist Robert Eskridge to Tahiti and led to his adventures on Manga Reva.
Paul Gauguin started life as a successful stock broker who painted as a hobby on weekends. He walked away from it all to pursue painting, even though it resulted in losing his wife and family. Edgar Degas bought some of his paintings, and it was money from that which financed his trip to Tahiti where he spent two years.
When K and I had viewed all the paintings, we bought a few items in the gift shop, then went back through the exhibit again, spending more time with the paintings we liked best. (There were several Monets we would have loved to bring home with us.)
Outside, on the traffic choked streets, the rain was falling steadily. The sidewalks crowded with people jostling their umbrellas, loud speakers blairing from the huge video screens mounted on sides of the tall buildings, elevated trains roaring by. It was an all out assault on the senses.
I was happy to leave. But for that afternoon, we had been transported to other places and times, and seen them as colorful impressions through the eyes and minds of artistic geniuses.