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When you enter “Arcadia by the Shore: The Mythic World of Puvis de Chavannes,” an exhibition of the work of the influential French 19th-century painter, it is not difficult to get a sense of why he was so successful in his own day, and why his reputation later slipped far behind those of other painters then considered his inferiors.

The show at Bunkamura The Museum, is the first solo show in Japan of the work of Pierre-Cecile Puvis de Chavannes, an artist who, because of his prominence at the end of the 19th-century, was also a major influence on the first generation of Western-style Japanese artists. Testament to this, the show contains several works by Japanese artists such as Takeji Fujishima and Seiki Kuroda, and even a faithful copy by Mango Kobayashi of one of Puvis de Chavannes’ most famous works, “The Poor Fisherman.”

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