During the past 17 years, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), and the Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts (N/BMFA) have worked together to present a diverse exhibition schedule representative of the MFA’s encyclopedic collection and featuring some of its great masterpieces.
In 1999, the N/BMFA’s inaugural year, three exhibitions were presented, sharing the richness of the MFA’s collection with Japanese audiences: Monet, Renoir and the Impressionist Landscape, an exploration of Impressionism as seen in more than 65 works by Monet, Renoir, Pissarro and Degas; Art of the Ancient Mediterranean World, an exhibition that traced the development of ancient Mediterranean civilizations (Egypt, Greece and Rome) and their cultural interconnections during a 5,000-year period; and Okakura Tenshin and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, a look at the MFA’s world-renowned Asian collection and the legacy of its curator, Okakura Kakuzo (also known as Okakura Tenshin), as seen through 100 Japanese and Chinese masterpieces spanning 5,000 years.
Over the years, MFA-organized exhibitions have been enthusiastically received by visitors to the Nagoya museum, including: Millet (2002), an exhibition of the unforgettable images of rural life created by Jean-Francois Millet; Impressionism in Boston (2003), a display of 50 works that explored the relationship between French and American art in Boston from 1850 to 1910; Masterworks from the MFA (2005), a collection of masterpieces showcasing the human figure; and The World of Claude Monet (2008), an exhibition featuring 24 of the artist’s paintings. In addition, three exhibitions on view at the N/BMFA focused specifically on the MFA’s vast ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) collection: The Allure of Edo (2006), which highlighted the “Floating World” of Edo-period Japan, Printed Treasures (Ukiyo-e) (2008) and Hokusai (2014).
In honor of the 10th anniversary of the MFA’s partnership with the N/BMFA in 2009, the two museums organized Gauguin, the centerpiece of which was the artist’s masterwork, D’où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous? (Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?) (1897–98). The MFA’s monumental painting traveled for the first time to Asia, and was featured in the exhibition with approximately 40 works by Gauguin from the MFA’s collection, and from museums in Japan. Japanese Masterpieces from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston was one of the world’s most popular exhibitions in 2012 and enabled the restoration of Dragon and Clouds (1763, Soga Shôhaku).
The N/BMFA celebrated its 15-year anniversary in April 2014 with the major exhibition Millet, Barbizon and Fontainebleau (April 19, 2014 – August 31, 2014), which surveyed the artists working in the Forest of Fontainebleau, Barbizon and the Plain of Chailly (the great farmland just outside the forest), beginning with Camille Corot in the 1830s and 1840s, and concluding with early Impressionist works, such as Claude Monet’s Woodgatherers at the Edge of the Forest (1863). This exhibition of more than 50 paintings displayed one of the world’s premier collections of landscape art from 19th-century France, and featured great artists including Millet, Corot, Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Penã, Théodore Rousseau and Monet.
Currently on view at the N/BMFA is City Life/Country Life: Light and Shadow in the Age of Renoir (March 19–August 21, 2016). The exhibition traces how artists in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries shifted their focus between the city and country, examining how images of urban and rural life changed in relation to the social and political climate. Through paintings, photographs, lithographs and other works on paper, the exhibition presents a broad range of new subjects that emerged out of modernization—urban landscapes and laboring peasants, street urchins and nightlife, rural satire and café culture—created by some of the greatest artists of the past 150 years.
N/BMFA Exhibitions (1999–2016)
|Monet, Renoir and the Impressionist Landscape||4/17/99–9/26/99|
|Art of the Ancient Mediterranean World||4/17/99–3/21/04|
|Okakura Tenshin and the MFA||10/23/99–3/26/00|
|Heiji Monogatari Emaki||4/11/00–5/7/00|
|Voice of Mother Earth: Art of the Puebloan Peoples of the American Southwest||5/30/00–10/9/00|
|Tea Drinking in the West||3/31/01–7/22/01|
|Masterworks from the Age of the Pyramids||9/15/01–2/3/02|
|Buddhist Art of Asia||10/5/02–2/16/03|
|Impressionism in Boston||4/26/03–11/9/03|
|Albrecht Durer: Renaissance Printmaker||11/22/03–3/21/04|
|Dèlacroix to Munch: 19th Century Visions||4/17/04–9/13/04|
|Promenade Through Art: Ancient Greece to Contemporary America||4/17/04-12/5/04|
|The Lane Collection and American Modernism: O’Keeffe and Her Time||10/2/04–2/21/05|
|The Art of the Japanese Postcard: The Leonard Lauder Collection at the MFA, Boston||1/2/05-2/20/05|
|Masterworks from the MFA, Boston: Celebrating the Human Form in Art||3/19/05–9/25/05|
|The Brilliance of Bird-and-Flower Paintings: Gems of East Asian Art||10/22/05–5/21/06|
|American Photographer Series: Ansel Adams||1/21/06-4/2/06|
|American Photographer Series: Alfred Stieglitz||4/8/06-6/7/06|
|American Photographer Series: Edward Weston||6/16/06-8/27/06|
|The Allure of Edo: Masterpieces of Ukiyoe Painting from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston||6/17/06–8/27/06|
|Five Centuries of European Portraiture||9/16/06–2/4/07|
|Children in American Art||3/17/07–8/19/07|
|Sharf Collection: American Car Design: 1945-1970||3/17/07-8/19/07|
|Printed Treasures (Ukiyo-e)||1/2/08–4/6/08|
|The World of Claude Monet||4/26/08–9/28/08|
|Worshipping Love: The Mighty Aphrodite||7/18/09–11/23/09|
|Gardens in Perpetual Bloom: Botanical Illustration in Europe and America 1600-1850||12/12/09–2/28/10|
|Changing Soil: Contemporary Landscape Painting (Za Fukei)||4/24/10–9/12/10|
|The Golden Age of Color Prints: Ukiyo-e from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston||10/9/10–1/30/11|
|Jim Dine: Theme and Variation: A Half Century of Printmaking||4/23/11–8/28/11|
|Still Life from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Tradition and Innovation||9/17/11–2/19/12|
|Icons of Style: Fashion makers, Models and Images||3/17/12–5/27/12|
|Japanese Masterpieces from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston||6/23/12– 9/17/12; 9/29/2012–12/9/2012|
|American Landscape From Niagara to Yosemite||1/12/13–5/6/13|
|Sisters in Art: Women Painters and Designers||5/25/13–9/29/13|
|Hokusai from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston||12/21/13–3/23/14|
|Millet, Barbizon and Fountainebleau||4/19/14–8/31/14|
|The Human Image||9/20/14–11/30/14|
|Looking East: Western Artists and the Allure of Japan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston||1/2/15–5/10/15|
|Double Impact – The Art of Meiji Japan||6/6/15–8/30/15|
|Venice: Five Centuries of the World’s Most Alluring City||9/19/15–2/21/16|
|City Life/Country Life: Light and Shadow in the Age of Renoir||3/19/16–8/21/16|