Save us from the well-rounded exhibition! For museum visitors in Japan, this is a constant danger; something I was reminded of again by the Setagaya Art Museum’s latest show: “Masterpieces from the Collection of the Kunstmuseum Winterthur.” Like other multi-faceted exhibitions that endeavor to provide visitors with a “comprehensive” experience, this show, sourced from a relatively well-known Swiss museum, tries to push in too many directions and include too many facets of art. The end result is a show that fails to impress or inform.
On paper it sounds like a not-to- be-missed opportunity. There are works by a veritable who’s-who of modern art, starting from precursors of modernism, like Eugene Delacroix and Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, leading right through the ranks of the ever-popular Impressionists — Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley: all included — to Post-Impressionists, Symbolists, Fauvists, Cubists, and representatives of several, lesser-known movements such as Nabis and Purism.