The Museum is currently closed for renovation.
The Masterpieces of the Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo — Ishibashi Foundation Collection Exhibition to be held at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris
The Bridgestone Museum of Art’s closure for reconstruction (reopening scheduled for the autumn provided the opportunity to introduce the Ishibashi Foundation’s exemplary collection, which is focused on modern and contemporary Western and Japanese art.
(Chefs-d’œuvre du Bridgestone Museum of Art de Tokyo, Collection Ishibashi Foundation)
Yasuhide Shimbata (Chief Curator, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation)
Kyoko Kagawa (Curator, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation)
“Masterpieces of the Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo—Ishibashi Foundation Collection”
The masterpieces in the Ishibashi Foundation Bridgestone Museum of Art collection were assembled by three generations of the Ishibashi family, all major figures in the business world who shared a passion for art. Bridgestone Corporation founder Shojiro Ishibashi stands out in his singular passion for art, and for Western art in particular, early in his career. He started collecting in the latter half of the 1930s and, in 1952, founded the Bridgestone Museum of Art in the centre of Tokyo, based on that collection. This museum made available to public view Impressionist and other Western and Japanese modern art. Later acquisitions have continued to develop the collection, which now includes 2,600 works. While the museum is being rebuilt, the collection will be shown in place in Europe, at the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris. The exhibition will include paintings ranging from the Impressionists to Abstract art created in Europe and Japan after World War II: works by Monet, Renoir, Caillebotte, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, and Pollock as well as Kazuo Shiraga. The focus will be on the enduring connection between art and collector seen against the background of Japanese history. Visitors will enjoy the opportunity to explore the cultural contexts in which these works were created and preserved. That the Musée de l'Orangerie is mounting this exhibition is an opportunity to note the close similarity between the Bridgestone Museum of Art and the Musée de l'Orangerie. They are mirror images of each other, in that both make available to the public art from collections assembled by passionate individual collectors.
That Japanese art influenced Impressionism is well known, but the reverse influence, of Impressionism on Japanese art, is much less recognized. Nonetheless, many Japanese artists were strongly influenced by Impressionism, and prominent Japanese collectors acquired Impressionist paintings, including Tadamasa Hayashi, Magosaburo Ohara, and Kojiro Matsukata. Their collections now are the nucleus of Western art exhibitions at Japanese museums. The Bridgestone Museum of Art collection and Shojiro Ishibashi are an indelible part of that history.
In 2018, France and Japan will celebrate 160 years of diplomatic relations. In that connection, we are greatly honored to hold an exhibition, this coming spring, of masterworks from the Bridgestone Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation in Tokyo. The structure that is now the Musée de l’Orangerie was built during the Second Empire, at just the time when these two nations were forging new diplomatic ties, ties that have led to extraordinarily rich cultural exchanges.
The Bridgestone Museum of Art collection symbolizes the many bridges that connect our two nations’cultures. Among them, what is known in the West as Japonisme occupies a significant position, but the mutual fascination of Japan and France with each other’s cultures is also visible in the work of modern Japanese artists. Their work is evidence of the opportunities for direct contact between Japanese and Western art from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century. In particular, one recalls the Japanese artists who were already living in Paris by the end of the nineteenth century. Works by several of those artists will be displayed in the special exhibition at the Musée de l'Orangerie.
In addition, the Bridgestone Museum of Art collection, whose core is a large group of superb Impressionist works, reveals its collector’s profound knowledge of Western and particularly French art. Seen from this point of view, the masterpieces in this collection, a collection that was formed by one entrepreneur’s passion for art, resonate wonderfully with the dream of Paul Guillaume, an art dealer and collector. Paul Guillaume hoped, from very early on, to make the works he had collected open to the public in a museum.
Today, the Musée de l'Orangerie has two major collections. One is the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection. The other is Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. A series of water lily paintings comprising a single work, Water Lilies adorns the walls of our museum. Japanese visitors to the Musée de l'Orangerie are captivated by this series, which Monet created as symbol of peace and donated to the Republic of France after World War I. This utterly unique series by Monet clearly embodies the very culmination of Japonisme. The ultimate model for this series of paintings of Water Lilies is the Japanese garden that Monet built by the waterside at his home in Giverny, Normandy. In welcoming this special exhibition, the Musée de l'Orangerie honors the stimulating and very fruitful exchanges between Japan and France.
National Heritage Curator-General
Director of the Musée de l’Orangerie
AOKI Shigeru, A gift of the Sea, 1904, Oil on canvas
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Mlle Georgette Charpentier Seated, 1876, Oil on canvas
Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire and Château Noir, c.1904-06, Oil on canvas
Le musée de l’Orangerie
The Musée de l’Orangerie is a national museum that, six years ago, was been attached to the public administration establishment of the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie. The Musée de l’Orangerie’s collection includes Claude Monet’s Water Lilies cycle and the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection. It thus complements the Musée d’Orsay collection and also addresses twentieth-century art.
The Musée de l’Orangerie, which is located in the Tuileries Garden, was originally designed as greenhouse for the orange trees in the garden of the Tuileries Palace, during the Second Empire. It was decorated in the classical style to harmonize with the Place de la Concorde beside it. This structure was turned into an art museum in the 1920s, when it was chosen as the place to store Monet’s Water Lilies, a large series of panels. The architect Camille Lefèvre followed Monet’s thinking in designing two oval galleries for the Water Lilies, as well as galleries for special exhibitions in the remainder of the structure. Today those two oval galleries offer the opportunity to appreciate Monet’s masterpieces to the full. With the success of exhibitions held at the Musée de l’Orangerie and the addition of the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection to the museum’s holdings, the building underwent major renovations. I should mention that Musée de l’Orangerie was the model for today’s Réunion des musées nationaux ‒ Grand Palais and a venue for large special exhibitions that attract large numbers of visitors. With the inclusion of the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection in 1970, the Musée de l’Orangerie collection achieved its final form. The museum itself, however, did not achieve its current state until the twenty-first century. In 2006, after a total rethinking of the interior, it reopened as a museum with the latest equipment and new underground rooms. Particularly noteworthy was the addition of 500 square meters of temporary exhibition spaces.
Since its reopening, the museum has held two special exhibitions a year. Among them, Frida Kahlo in 2013, Apollinaire, the Eyes of the Poet in 2016 and the current exhibition, American Painting in the 1930s have been particularly popular.
In 1918, immediately after the end of World War I, Claude Monet donated his Water Lilies to the nation as a symbol of peace. In accord with the artist’s wishes, in 1927, several months after Monet’s death, the Water Lilies cycle was displayed in the Musée de l’Orangerie. Indeed, with this unique series of paintings, the museum became “the Sistine Chapel of Impressionism,” as the artist André Masson described it in 1952, within which the essence of Claude Monet’s art was given voice. These works were inspired by Monet’s Japanese garden at Giverny.
musée de l’orangerie / Sophie Boegly
Une petite coquille dans le nom d’André Derain
The collection built by Paul Guillaume, an art collector and dealer, is one of the finest in Europe. It is comprised of 146 works. Between 1914 and 1934, Guillaume assembled an awe-inspiring collection of several hundred works, spanning the Impressionists to contemporary art and African art. The Impressionist works from that collection now include twenty by Renoir, fifteen by Cézanne, and individual works by Gauguin, Monet, and Sisley. In twentieth-century art from that collection, the Musée de l’Orangerie displays twelve works by Picasso, ten by Matisse, five by Modigliani, five by Marie Laurencin, nine by Henri Rousseau, twenty-nine by André Derain, ten by Utrillo, twenty-two by Soutine, and one by Van Dongen.
Curator, musée de l’Orangerie