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Iconomorphosis: Selected Graphics from the NMWA Collection

  • Iconomorphosis:
    Selected Graphics from the NMWA Collection
    In commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the National Museum of Western Art
  • 7 July 2009 – 16 August 2009
  • Venue: National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

    Organizers: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

    Sponsor: EPSON

    In Cooperation with: Western Art Foundation

    Number of visitors: 23,653

This year the NMWA marks 50 years since its opening. The museum has been involved in a variety of research and exhibition activities during this half-century, while, all the moreso, continuing the important process of making acquisitions to further shape and build its unique collection. The museum began with approximately 370 works from the ex-Matsukata collection that were returned to the Japanese people by the French government as part of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. As of the end of fiscal 2008, the collection included 4,547 works. While only 24 prints numbered among the original 370 works, today the number of prints in the collection has swollen to 3,747, clearly a large percentage of the museum's overall holdings. The NMWA print collection contains works by major artists indispensable to a discussion of the history of prints in western art, including the Renaissance artist Dürer, the 17th century artists Callot and Rembrandt, the 18th century Piranesi and Goya, and the 19th century artists Daumier and Klinger. This exhibition presents, for the first time, an overview of the NMWA print collection in its display of 130 works, primarily prints, with a few supplementary drawings and books.

Related Programs (In Japanese Only)


This lecture series will consider the NMWA Main Building and Le Corbusier himself from various angles.

Saturday 18 July 14:00 – 15:30
Chihiro Minato (Professor, Tama Art University)
"The Other Self and Memory"
Saturday 25 July 14:00 - 15:30
Atsushi Tanigawa (Professor, Kokugakuin University)
"The Aesthetics of "Utsushi (Copying)": The myth of 'original' images"
Saturday 1 August 14:00 - 15:30
Jun Tanaka (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Tokyo University)
"The Morphology of Sentiment: Deciphering Aby Warburg's 'Mnemosyne'"
Gallery Talks

Guided talks explaining the highlights of the exhibition and major works will be conducted in the galleries on the following Fridays during the museum's late evening opening hours

Friday 10 July, Friday 7 August
Each day at 18:00 (approximately 40 minutes in length)
Atsushi Shinfuji (Curator, NMWA)
Meeting place:
Please gather in the Auditorium (B2F)
Demonstration of Print Methods

A demonstration of how prints are made, including etchings, lithographs and other methods used in the prints on display.

Saturday 18 July, 11:00 – (approximately 40 minutes)
“Copperplate Print Methods"

1 August (Sat.) 11:00 – (approximately 40 minutes)
"Lithographic Methods"

In cooperation with the Print Department, Tokyo University of the Arts

Special Exhibitions Wing Lobby (B2F)
Free-of-charge (however, an admission ticket is required for viewing the exhibition)
Meeting place:
Please gather in Special Exhibitions Wing Lobby (B2F)
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