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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.

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 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.

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.