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The National Museum of Western Art was established in April 1959 and was based on the Matsukata Collection focusing on the Impressionist paintings and Auguste Rodin's sculptures previously stored by the French government. The museum's purpose is to provide the public with opportunities to appreciate western art. Since its opening, the museum, as Japan's only national institution devoted to western art, has been involved in exhibitions, art work and document acquisition, research, restoration and conservation, education and the publication of materials related to western art.

The museum exhibits works from the Matsukata Collection as well as works created from the Renaissance to the early 20th century that have been acquired since the museum's opening. The museum has purchased art work every year since its establishment in its efforts to build and develop its permanent collection. These permanent collection works are displayed in the Main Building (Le Corbusier, 1959) and New Wing (MAEKAWA Kunio, 1979) throughout the year.

The museum is involved in the development and organization of a special exhibition every year. These exhibitions feature works on loan from private collections and museums both in and out of Japan. The museum also co-sponsors exhibitions organized jointly with outside organizations, including major newspapers, that are held held twice a year. Special exhibitions are displayed in the Exhibition Galleries completed in 1997.

In April 2001, Japan's four national museums became independent administrative corporations. Thus, the National Museum of Western Art is now under the umbrella organization known as the Independent Administrative Institution National Museum of Art.

国立西洋美術館 (Kokuritsu Seiyō Bijutsukan)
The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
Independent Administrative Institution National Museum of Art
7-7 Ueno-koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0007, Japan
〒110-0007 東京都台東区上野公園7-7
+81 (0)3 3828-5131
1 April 1959
10 June 1959

NMWA Staff

As of 1 August 2013

Director General
Akiko Mabuchi
Deputy Director
Yayoi Komatsu
Hiroya Murakami, Chief Curator
Takashi Iizuka, Curator of Research and Future Planning
Megumi Jingaoka, Curator of Painting and Sculpture
Atsushi Shinfuji, Curator of Painting and Sculpture
Yusuke Kawase, Curator of Painting and Sculpture
Shinsuke Watanabe, Curator of Prints and Drawings
Asuka Nakada, Curator of Prints and Drawings
Yoko Terashima
Saki Yokoyama
Research Library
Masako Kawaguchi
  • Outline
  • Chronology
  • Matsukata Collection
  • The Building