BOSTON, MA—In April 2014, Japan’s Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts (N/BMFA) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), celebrate the 15th anniversary of America’s first and only sister museum in Asia. Throughout the partnership, which has welcomed more than 4 million visitors to the N/BMFA since 1999, numerous exhibitions have brought Boston’s artistic treasures to Japan. To mark the anniversary, and celebrate the Museum’s historic relationship with Japan, the MFA has organized Millet, Barbizon and Fontainebleau, which is on view in Nagoya April 19–August 31, 2014. A highlight of the exhibition, Jean-François Millet’s masterpiece The Sower (1850), will travel to Japan along with a number of important works from the MFA’s renowned collection of French paintings from the mid-19th century. In Japan, Millet, Barbizon and Fontainebleau also travels to the Museum of Art, Kochi, and the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo. Additionally, a series of special events and programs in Nagoya surrounding the 15-year anniversary includes a Directors' Dialogue with Dr. Shunkichi Baba, Director of the N/BMFA, and Malcolm Rogers, the MFA’s Ann and Graham Gund Director.
This exhibition of 64 paintings displays one of the world’s premier collections of landscape art from 19th-century France, and features artists including Millet, Camille Corot, Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Penã, Théodore Rousseau and Claude Monet. Exploring Millet’s career and influence on his contemporaries, the show also examines the artistic heirs to the Barbizon School. In addition to The Sower, Millet’s Young Shepherdess (about 1870–1873) will travel from Boston to Japan, bringing two of the artist’s large, iconic portraits of rural life to Nagoya.
Founded by The Foundation for the Arts, Nagoya (FAN), the N/BMFA was established in 1999 as the MFA’s sister museum. Together, the museums have pursued the common goal of sharing a comprehensive view of world art from across all cultures and time periods with the people of Japan. Since its opening, when the 20-year partnership (1999–2019) was launched, the N/BMFA has presented close to 40 major exhibitions organized by the MFA, sharing close to 4,000 works from the Boston Museum’s collection. The N/BMFA has also become an integral part of the vibrant community life in Nagoya—a center of commerce and industry in the heart of Japan.
“It is an honor to celebrate the MFA’s sister museum, and the cultural partnership between Boston and Nagoya that has flourished for 15 years, by sharing some of our finest masterpieces,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “I am extremely proud of the legacy of this unique cultural exchange and the ability to share the Museum’s treasures from across our global collection with the people of Japan.”
Rogers will attend the anniversary celebration and opening of Millet, Barbizon and Fontainebleau in Nagoya on April 18, 2014. He will join N/BMFA Director Dr. Shunkichi Baba for the occasion, including a Directors’ Dialogue, a discussion of the Directors’ favorite works of art, Millet and his influences and the past and future of the partnership between the MFA and the N/BMFA.
“There have been many changes in these five years since we had our 10th anniversary in 2009. The Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 surely changed how we look at what surrounds us, nature. Art and culture seem to have given way to the earthquake. After a while, however, the power of them is realized again. I believe that this exhibition, Millet, Barbizon and Fontainebleau, is a great opportunity to recall how precious everyday life is and how much art and culture can do to help us recover our lost heart,” said Dr. Baba, N/BMFA Director.
The paintings in Millet, Barbizon and Fontainebleau, ranging from the 1840s through the 1890s, chronicle the groundbreaking landscapes that marked this critical period in French painting, as Romanticism moved into Realism, and formed the basis for Impressionism. In 1851, Boston painter William Morris Hunt traveled from Paris to Barbizon (on the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau) to meet Jean-François Millet, whose realist images had been some of the most talked-about paintings of the 1850 and 1851 Paris Salon. Hunt purchased The Sower and started a trend for collecting French mid-century paintings in Boston, many of which are now in the MFA’s collection and form the core of this exhibition. Millet, Barbizon and Fontainebleau surveys the artists working in the Forest of Fontainbleau, Barbizon and the Plain of Chailly (the great farmland just outside the forest), beginning with Camille Corot in the 1830s and 1840s, and includes one early Impressionist work by Claude Monet, Woodgatherers at the Edge of the Forest (1863).
“Millet, Barbizon, and Fontainebleau highlights the cross-pollination of ideas and styles among a group of friends dedicated to preserving nature and capturing the beauty of the forest and rural life in their paintings,” said Martha Clawson, who organized the show and is the MFA’s Exhibitions Coordinator, Touring Exhibitions.
The partnership between Boston and Nagoya furthers the Museum’s global mission of encouraging direct encounters with art by sharing works with museums around the world—including the N/BMFA—and online through . Exhibitions in Nagoya are developed through the collaborative efforts of representatives from the MFA and the N/BMFA—staff from both museums travel between the two cities to study, share research and discuss themes and content for exhibitions drawn from the MFA’s rich and varied collection. The two museums also collaborate on published catalogues. Educational programs that complement the exhibitions range from lectures and symposia to gallery talks and tours. Educational activities focus on works of art in the MFA’s collection, as well as other topics on art history. Additionally, the N/BMFA has a Library Corner offering an array of research materials.
For families, the museum organizes programming such as the Studio Art Exchange—a yearly art-making project for children in Boston and Nagoya. Inspired by exhibitions from the MFA’s collection, the partnership is a collaborative art project, where young students enrolled in the MFA Studio Art Class Program, April Vacation Journeys Through Art, for ages 5-11, and students in the summer Nagoya Art program that is part of the Aichi Children’s University, create art based on a shared theme. The children’s completed work is then displayed in both Nagoya and Boston. The N/BMFA has also initiated a partnership between the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music, which resulted in an ongoing faculty exchange project between the two institutions as well as collaborative student projects related to exhibitions in Nagoya. The two universities will also be holding a mini concert series organized by students from those schools. Most recently, the N/BMFA has been used as a resource for courses in Museum Studies at the Nagoya University of the Arts, the Aichi Prefectural University and the Nanzan University.
N/BMFA GENERAL INFORMATION
The N/BMFA is located at 1-1-1 Kanayama-cho, Naka-ku, Nagoya (adjacent to the Kanayama train station). The Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. On Saturday, Sunday and holidays, the N/BMFA is open from 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. The Museum is closed on Mondays, however, during weeks when a national holiday or substitute holiday falls on a Monday, the Museum will be open Monday and closed on Tuesday.
Adult general admission to the Museum is ¥1,200, or about $13.50 (¥1,000 for advance tickets or groups of 20 or more people). Discounts are available for senior citizens. Students (elementary school and junior high school children) are free. N/BMFA annual memberships, providing free admission, are available for ¥5,000 per person (about $56), ¥2,000 (about $17) for each additional family member over age 18. Through a reciprocal relationship between the sister museums, N/BMFA membership benefits also extend to the MFA in Boston. (Dollar figures are based on the conversion rate of approximately $1 = ¥89). The N/BMFA’s website is nagoya-boston.or.jp.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its encyclopedic collection, which includes an estimated 500,000 objects. The Museum’s collection is made up of: Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 a.m.–4:45 p.m.; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.–9:45 p.m. Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger on weekdays after 3 p.m., weekends, and Boston Public Schools holidays; otherwise $10. Wednesday nights after 4 p.m. admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25). MFA Members are always admitted for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For more information, visit or call 617.267.9300. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.