Archival Labels
Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair
Pablo Picasso
Paris, late 1913–early 1914
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Tokyo 1964

After the crushing defeat of World War II, Japan embraced modern Western art as a way of rebuilding international relations. A nationwide initiative was launched to build museums with the understanding that “providing public spaces for various kinds of modern art offered symbolic value as a peaceful, forward-looking activity that could reconnect Japan to the international community of nations and redeem Japan’s international image” (Hein 2010, p. 831). Japan’s first modern art museum, the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Modern Art in Kamakura, south of Tokyo, was inaugurated in November 1951, with an exhibition that included works by Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) and Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), on loan from private Japanese collectors.

As part of the initiative, the National Museum of Modern Art opened in Tokyo the following year and in 1953 mounted a survey of modern Japanese and European art, including the work of the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Braque, André Derain (1880–1954), Henri Matisse (1869–1954), Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920), and Picasso. On May 23, 1964, the museum opened a retrospective exhibition of Picasso’s work. With 148 works on loan from museums, private collectors, and dealers—as well as 58 paintings from the Las Meninas series that the artist (who did not travel to Tokyo for the show) loaned himself—the show was the largest Picasso exhibition ever held in Japan up until that point. The New York Times later reported that more than a quarter of a million visitors attended the exhibition during its thirty-eight-day run. The show traveled to Kyoto (July 10–August 2) and Nagoya (August 8–18). Both organizers, the dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1884–1979) and Alfred H. Barr, Jr. (1902–1981), founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, contributed essays to the exhibition catalogue. 

This exhibition label from the 1964 show is affixed to the wooden stretcher of Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair (1913–14), which was loaned by Dr. Ingeborg Pudelko-Eichmann (1907–1980) and included in all three venues. Two works now in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art were also displayed at all three locations: Woman in Profile (1901; 1999.363.58) and Pipe, Rack and Still Life on a Table (1911; 1997.149.6). 

For more information, see:

Catalogue of the Exhibition of Modern Painting: Western and Japanese. Exh. cat. Tokyo: The National Museum of Modern Art, 1953.

Hein, Laura. “Modern Art Patronage and Democratic Citizenship in Japan.” The Journal of Asian Studies 69, no. 3 (August 2010): 821–41.

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