The Gunma Museum of Art, Tatebayashi

by Stefan Chiarantano, Jan 21, 2007 | Destinations: Japan

While temporarily staying in Tatebayashi, a city in Gunma Prefecture, I took the time to visit the Gunma Museum of Art, Tatebayashi.  I wasn't disappointed and it was worth the effort to get there.  The post-modern museum designed with glass, concrete and steel sits in a park like setting surrounded by landscaped grounds.  The exterior glass walls let in the light and the surrounding landscape grounds create an airy relaxing feeling inside.   The general price of admission for many Japanese museums range from anywhere from 650 to 1200 Yen.  When told the price was a mere 200 Yen, I was very surprised.  I thought this is a real bargain!

When it comes to appreciating Western art, Japan takes the cake.   Japan must have the most extensive collection of Western art in the world.  On my visit, there was a special exhibit from the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Gunma, which has temporarily closed for remodeling.  Here is just a smattering of the artworks on display when you enter the gallery:

Landscape, Constant Troyon (1810-1865)

The Church and the Farm at Eragny 1884

Camille Pissarro


Couple Reading 1877

Pierre-August Renoir


Jules Pascin

The Girl with Long Hair on a Stool


Woman with a Bulldog 1914

Marie Laurencin


Juefosse, the Effect in the Late Afternoon

1884 Claude Monet


Water Lilies (Nympheas)


Claude Monet


Anywhere out of the world 1015

Marc Chagall


Girl with a Doll 1923

Leonard Foujita

(Fujita Tsuguharu)

Saint Sebastian 1910

Odilon Redon

(St. Sebastian is pierced with two arrows, one stuck in his right thigh and the other in his right chest.  Another arrow lies embedded in the tree trunk.  His hands are tied behind his back.  Except for the cloth that covers his private parts, he is naked.  His head is resting against his right side and he is leaning against a tree.)


There was a sculpture piece by Ossip Zadkine titled ‘Van Gogh Walking through Fields'1956 and a piece by Auguste Rodin titled ‘The sculptor and his Muse' 1890.


Summer in Aasgaardstrand 1890

Evard Munch


Follies (Los Disparates) 1815 - 24

Francisco de Goya


The gallery opens up to another gallery featuring for example the works of Miro, Picasso, Oskar Kokoschka, Wassily Kandinsky, Matisse, and featuring a sculpture piece by Barbara Hepworth titled Helicoids in Sphere 1938.


Here are some of the pieces:


Ubu Rex 1966

Joan Miro (1893-1983)


Fishes, bottle and Compote (La petite cuisine) 1922

Pablo Picasso


The Dreaming Boys 1908

Oskar Kokoschka


Sounds 1912

Wassily Kandinsky




Henri Matisse



Fables (1928-1931)

Circus (1) Frontispiece 1967


Beauty viewing the moon

Marc Chagall


And there were several galleries featuring the works of past and contemporary Japanese artists.  Here's a smattering of the artists on display:


Napping Model 1903 (a Japanese nude)

Yuasa Ichiro


Village Girl


Yuasa Ichiro


Sea at Brehat


Kume Keiichiro


Sunset behind a Prison 1919

Nakagawa Kazumasa


Portrait of a Woman 1927

Takabatake Tatsushiro


Girl 1935

Hasegawa Toshiyuki


Leda 1962

Prayer 1958

Slum Lords Rich on Our Misery 1965

Black Agitator 1965

Fukuzawa Ichiro


The Gunma Museum of Art, Tatebayashi has a gallery dedicated to the stylized animal sculptures of Francois Pompon, a former assistant of Rodin, and a sculptor in his own right.  He is famous for his stylized polar bears. There's also a bronze sculpture of Cosette 1888 by him and a Weathervane Cock.  On display in the same gallery were sculpture pieces by August Rodin, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, and Aristide Maillol.


Here they are:


Head of Balzac (H)


August Rodin


The Monument for Adam Mickiewicz 1928

The Three Polish

Emile-Antoine Bourdelle


Description:  The middle muse is embracing the other two muses.  The outer two have joined their left hands.  They are looking up.  Their expressions are sorrowful.


The birth of Venus 1918

Aristide Maillol


I finished my visit with a look around in the Museum shop and a light supper in the Il Cornetto, the museum restaurant.  It was a fitting end to a brief stay in Tatebayashi and no doubt the visit lifted my spirits!

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