The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto


ExhibitionsJames McNeill Whistler Retrospective

James McNeill Whistler Retrospective

Arrangement in Grey and Black
Arrangement in Grey and Black,
   No. 2:Portrait of Thomas Carlyle
   1872-73, Glasgow Museums and
   Art Galleries
   ©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums
  Born in the city of Lowell, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States, James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) was a representative painter and print artist in the latter part of the 19th century who based his activities in London while maintaining close ties with impressionist artists in Paris. Internationally acclaimed as a pioneering artist of Japonism, Whistler established his unique style, greatly inspired by Japanese art and crafts, which had produced a great sensation at world expositions in the western countries.
  Whistler criticized the mainstream idea of art in those days, which regarded art as a mere medium of conveying history or teachings, and attempted to pursue the expressive power of paintings, specifically the pure, visual effects that can be found in such paintings. As a leader of Aestheticism, he emphasized the intrinsic value of art, expressing it as "art for art's sake." He produced works which valued harmony between color tones and composition, and eventually exerted a great influence on artists in the same period. Furthermore, he tried to define his own philosophy behind creating artworks, by utilizing music terminology such as "symphony" and "arrangement" in the titles of his paintings.

Nocturne: Blue and Gold
   – Old Battersea Bridge
, 1872-75,
   The Tate Gallery
   ©Tate, London 2014
  This exhibition introduces in chronological order the development process of Whistler's artwork, ranging from his initial artistic career as a realist triggered by his encounter with the work of Gustave Courbet in Paris, to establishing his unique style of art as an aesthete painter, through the 2 main motifs he used in his paintings – portraits in the 1st section and landscape paintings in the 2nd section. In the 3rd section, we introduce Japonism, which was the most important element in the development of his artistic style, how it influenced his work and the masterpieces he achieved.
  As the first large-scale retrospective exhibition held in Japan in 27 years, this exhibition features the whole gamut of Whistler's works, including 130 oil and watercolor paintings, and prints gathered from the United States, Britain and France. It also includes reference materials and related works such as ukiyo-e prints that greatly influenced Whistler, whose charm thoroughly captivated Western art circles in the latter half of the 19th century.

List of Works
James McNeill Whistler Retrospective
*The picture, No. 53 《Battersea Reach》 (ca. 1863), is unavailable due to the circumstances
 of the possessor. We wish your kind understanding.

The temperature of the exhibition venue is set to around 20°C (68°F)
for the protection of works of art. Please bring thin coat to keep yourself comfortable.

Exhibition dates
September 13 (Sat.) - November 16 (Sun.), 2014
Closed on Mondays
Exception: Open on September 22 (Mon.), October 14 (Tue.) and November 4 (Tue.)

Regular hours
9:30AM-5:00PM (admission until 4:30PM)

Evening hours *September 20 (Sat.), 21 (Sun.)
9:30AM-8:00PM (admission until 7:30PM)

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
NHK Kyoto Station
NHK PlanNet, Inc., Kinki Branch Office
The Kyoto Shimbun

Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co., Ltd.
Nissha Printing Co., Ltd.

Japan Airlines

  Day of admission Advance Group (20 or more)
Adult 1,500 1,300 1,300
University students 1,100 900 900
High school students 600 400 400
Junior high school students
and younger

*Collection gallery is available with this ticket.
* Visitors with disability and one person accompanying them are
 admitted free of charge.(Please present certificate at the admission.)
*Advance tickets:
 Lawson     (L-code:56121)
 Seven-Eleven (7-code:029-678)
 Ticket Pia    (P-code: 766-113)
 Other major ticket vendors and convenience stores
 *Advance tickets are available for a limited period only. (8/1-9/12)

 Related events
  Lecture: "James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903): Artistic Cosmopolitan"
Patricia de Montfort (Lecturer in History of Art, School of Culture and
   Creative Arts, University of Glasgow)
   Date & Time: September 13 (Sat.), 2014 2:00-3:30PM
   Place: 1F Lecture hall
   Fee: Free Admission (maximum capacity 100 seats)
   in English with Japanese transration
   *Patricia de Montford is going to give us a lecture on behalf of Margaret F. MacDonald.

  Symposium: The 4th Hatakeyama Open Symposium
   "Overview of Japonism - What Started on Whistler?"
Date & Time: October 4 (Sat.), 2014 10:00AM-5:00PM
   Place: 1F Lecture hall
   Organizer: The Society for the Study of Japonisme
             The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
             Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art
   Fee: Free Admission (maximum capacity 100 seats)
   in Japanese only
   Advanced Application Required through e-mail (,
   indicating Name, Address and Phone No.
   *We have reached the quota of applications.

10:00-10:15 Greeting
MIYAZAKI Katsumi (Managing Director, The Society for the Study of Japonisme / Professor, Showa University of Music) and OSADA Noriyuki (Executive Director, Hatakeyama Culture Foundation)
Session 1: Keynote Address and Presentation
10:15-11:15 Keynote Address "New Aspects of Japonisme"
MABUCHI Akiko (Director, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo)
11:15-12:00 Presentation 1
"Whistler's Japonisme and its Dissemination"
ONO Ayako (Associate Professor, Shinshu University)
Session 2: Presentation
13:00-13:44 Presentation 2
"Whistler in the 1860s - Exoticism and 'Picture within a Picture'"
MIURA Atsushi (Professor, The University of Tokyo)
13:45-14:30 Presentation 3
"Musical Terms in Whistler's Art"
TSURUZONO Shikiko (Lecturer, Toho Gakuen School of Music)
14:30-15:15 Presentation 4
"Japan Approached by Whistler? - Bridge, Firework, Zen"
HASHIMOTO Yorimitsu (Associate Professor, Osaka University)
Session 3: Discussion
15:30-17:00 Discussion Chair: MIYAZAKI Katsumi

Publicity materials
flyer PDF(2.2MB)


   This exhibition is made possible through support
from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

  An exhibition in association with
  The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

文化庁This exhibition is covered by the Japanese Act on the Indemnification of Damage to Works of Art in Exhibitions.

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