From the end of the Edo Period (1603-1868) to the Meiji Period (1868-1912), many foreign painters visited Japan depicted the country’s beautiful landscapes and unfamiliar customs, and presented their works to their respective hometowns. Influenced by this, some Japanese artists began studying these painting techniques and made works that depicted local landscapes and customs, which they sold to foreign visitors as souvenirs. Others raised money by selling such works while they were studying abroad. These oil and watercolor paintings, depicting Japan during the Meiji era, have long been beloved abroad. This exhibition showcases a private collection of Meiji paintings, which were assembled abroad and brought back to Japan. These works, the majority of which have never been shown publicly, portray both the Japan that foreign visitors saw and the Japan that Japanese people wanted to show them. The pictures promise to shed new light on contemporary Japan.
The Collection Gallery exhibits selected works of nihonga (Japanese-style painting), yōga (Western-style painting), prints, sculpture, crafts (ceramics, textiles, metalworks, wood and bamboo works, lacquers and jewelry) and photography from the museum collection. Also shown are outstanding and monumental works of modern art in Japan, as well as modern and contemporary European and American art.