National Museum of Arts. Tokyo. Japan. 

 


 
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National Museum of Arts. Tokyo. Japan 

The National museum of Western art was open in 1959 with an aim of exposing the Matsukata collection, returned to Japan by the French government.
Kojiro Matsukata started to collect paintings of Masters in London in the middle of the First World War. Matsukata attended art galleries and acquired a great number of paintings, sculptures, pieces of furniture and tapestries. Its collection includes more than 10 000 pieces. The altruistic idea to him had opened a Museum of Art in Japan and had just exposed its masterpiece to the profit of the young Japanese artists. Matsukata had left a great number of its paintings in Europe, those stored in a warehouse of London were destroyed in a fire in 1939. But 400 tables had been entrusted to Paris with Leonce Bénédite, director of the Museum of Luxembourg. In 1959 the French government decided to restore the majority of these masterpiece at the Japanese government in pledge of the friendship found between the 2 two countries. These facts are at the origin of the opening of the National museum of Western art.