The trick to understanding Giorgio de Chirico

Dec 4, 2014

The trick to understanding Giorgio de Chirico

Giorgio de Chirico is not unlike a rock star in terms of his career trajectory. His greatest and most seminal work was done when he was young — between the ages of 23 and 32 — after which he lost much of his “edge,” ...

A modern annex for an old favorite

Nov 28, 2014

A modern annex for an old favorite

I always feel a little inadequate arriving at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, shambling up its gravel drive in my slovenly journalist garb and running one hand over my face to check if I’ve shaved that day. It’s such an elegant venue that ...

The beating art of Ferdinand Hodler

Nov 27, 2014

The beating art of Ferdinand Hodler

With Japan and Switzerland celebrating the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations, there have been a few Swiss-themed events in town, such as the exhibition “Masterpieces from the Kunsthaus Zurich” at the National Art Center, Tokyo, reviewed earlier this month. That exhibition contained some paintings ...

Treasures worth standing in line for

Nov 20, 2014

Treasures worth standing in line for

There is a fundamental problem with the Tokyo National Museum (TNM), which I come up against time and time again. In a nutshell, the venue is too big for its exhibits and too small for its audience. This is underlined yet again by the ...

Uffizi highs of the Renaissance

Nov 13, 2014

Uffizi highs of the Renaissance

There’s something quaint about the main painting at the “Galleria Degli Uffizi: Arte a Firenze da Botticelli a Bronzino — verso una ‘Maniera Moderna’ ” exhibition now showing at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art. The work, “Pallas and the Centaur” (c. 1480-85), a ...

The all-star cast of Kunsthaus Zurich

Nov 6, 2014

The all-star cast of Kunsthaus Zurich

Switzerland is an “island” in a “sea” of Europe. From its elevated Alpine position in the heart of Western Europe, it figuratively looks down on the main European cultural heartlands of Italy, France and Germany, the perfect place for a wide-ranging, cosmopolitan collection of ...

Beneath the disarray lies a struggle

Nov 6, 2014

Beneath the disarray lies a struggle

One of the joys of covering a Willem de Kooning exhibition, such as the one at the Bridgestone Museum of Art, is catching up with the jargon that surrounds his work. As he was a leading light of New York’s postwar abstract expressionist movement, ...

Less meant more to Shunso Hishida

Oct 16, 2014

Less meant more to Shunso Hishida

It’s no secret that the Japanese art world was going through major changes at the end of the 19th century. On the one hand, there was a flood of Western art styles, called yōga, offering exciting new possibilities, while, on the other, there was ...

The Royal Academy gazed beyond its shores

Sep 25, 2014

The Royal Academy gazed beyond its shores

If last week’s Scottish independence referendum achieved anything, it raised awareness of Britain and Britishness. But for a few hundred thousand votes, here is a nation that could have ceased to be. But just what is Britishness? A visit to “Genius and Ambition: The ...

Taking a pictorial trip to Normandy

Sep 18, 2014

Taking a pictorial trip to Normandy

“Normandie — L’Estuaire de la Seine: L’Invention d’Un Paysage” (“Normandy — The Seine Estuary: The invention of a Landscape” is an exhibition at the Sompo Japan Museum of Art that recently changed its name to Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art. Just as the ...