Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vincent van Gogh, popularly regarded in Japan (as elsewhere) as the quintessential artist. Unfortunately, it will be difficult for Japanese galleries to borrow works from abroad to celebrate this event, with insurance costs now three times higher than before Sept. 11.

Bad news, too, for Nishi Shinjuku’s Yasuda Kasai Museum of Art, which, as owner of one of van Gogh’s highly prized “Sunflowers,” (acquired by the Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co. at Christie’s, London, some 10 years ago for the then-record sum of $40.3 million), has a local association with the Dutch painter and ties with the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

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