Art museum surrounded by greenery. In the Mark Rothko Room, admire the colors of the indistinct rectangular outline, meditate and get rid of distractions.
A private art museum in Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture. The museum opened in 1990. Artworks collected by a chemical manufacturer called DIC Corporation are on display. The museum, built on the premises of DIC Corporation’s research institute, is a two-story Western-style building. There are forests and ponds around the building, it falls into the category of a suburban/natural art museum.
In front of the museum’s entrance, there is a pond (probably an artificial), and when entering the building, there is a lobby with an atrium extending to the second floor. After passing through the lobby and turning left, find the first exhibition room, Room 101.
What makes this museum special is that it has a large selection of artworks by foreign artists. Picasso, Chagall, Magritte. Mainly artworks from the 1900s. Picasso’s paintings were in a style that I have never seen before. In the exhibition room on the second floor, there were some relatively new artworks made in the late 1900s, so it must be that the collection continues.
Well, the highlight of this museum is the Rothko Room, where only the artworks of Mark Rothko, a representative artist of abstract expressionism. Room 106 at the back of the first floor is a flattened hexagon shape. In a dimly lit room, seven paintings depicting rectangular shapes in reddish-purple colors filled the walls. The two largest paintings are about 3 meters high and 5 meters wide. There is a sofa with no backrest in the center of the room, allowing to immerse in a quiet space.
When I sit down on the sofa and look at the colors of the indistinct rectangular outline, my distractions has gone and I feel “nothing”. The structure and atmosphere of the exhibition room looks similar to the room in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, where only Monet’s “Water Lilies”, however if you would like to reach a level of meditation, I definitely recommend this Mark Rothko room.
The only spaces where Mark Rothko’s paintings are the “Tate Modern” in London, the “Phillips Collection” in Washington DC, and the “Rothko Chapel” in Houston.
In addition, in Exhibition Room 200 on the second floor, there is the “Twombly Room,” with Cy Twombly’s paintings and sculptures (at the time of my visit in 2021). I could see the forest from both sides of the room. This room space was so exquisite that Cy Twombly’s artwork was almost outweighed by the view from this room.
There are three rooms on the second floor, 201, 202, and 203, all of which are spacious and luxurious. The special exhibition in 2022: Color Fields exhibited only abstract paintings and it was an exhibition that I have never seen anywhere else.
Although it is a private art museum, considering the history of this museum, I assume that the curators are of a high standard. The discoveries of “Jules Olitsky” and “Maurice Lewis” at this exhibition were a boon.
There is a tea room at the back of room 110 on the first floor, where you can enjoy matcha and Japanese sweets, and outside the building, walking a little, find a plaza with a beautiful green lawn. It is a relaxing place surrounded by nature.
Furthermore, taking photos inside the museum is not allowed, though more museums allows photography recently. I thought it is a good idea to prohibit photography in the Rothko Room and allow photography in the rest.
Visited in 2018, 2021, 2022.
■ Name： Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art
■ Address : 631 Sakado, Sakura, Chiba, Japan
- To indulge in meditation in the Mark Rothko Room, I recommend you to visit weekdays. If possible, it is wise to avoid weekends, especially during special and popular exhibitions.
- As for the access to this museum. If you go by train, there is a shuttle bus from JR Sakura Station which is the nearest train station. Additionally, Keisei provides a direct bus service from Tokyo Station, making one round trip per day. This is a large sightseeing bus and it is comfortable, so it is recommended. I think it is the best to enjoy the scenery after relaxing on the bus without having a drive.
（described on Sep 30 2023)