Tour in English! Art Deco at the Teien Museum

honkan_teienDid you know there’s a gem of Art Deco architecture right in the center of Tokyo? And that it’s open to the public and easily visited? This charming building is the Prince Asaka residence, built in 1933 for a member of the Imperial family, and now part of the  Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum. It’s near Shirokanedai and Meguro stations, in a beautiful, park-like setting.

garden_teien

On Sept. 4 at 3 pm, I’ll be giving a guided tour in English. To help publicize the event, which is free with regular museum admission (800 yen), I’m giving away four tickets that will get you in the museum free, too. (Update: All tickets have now been spoken for, and are on their way to V.C., T.G. and N.K.)

Look up! My previous gallery talk at the Teien Museum. The lights are by Lalique.

Look up! The lights are by Lalique. My previous gallery talk at the Teien Museum.

During the tour, which will last about an hour, I’ll guide visitors through the residence, sharing its fascinating history while pointing out important points of design and materials.

Salon, former Prince Asaka Residence

Salon, former Prince Asaka Residence

The current exhibition, on through Sept. 23,  features Art Deco furniture on loan from the collection of Hikonobu Ise. This is a very good chance to experience what the interior may have felt like when it was still a residence, while enjoying fabulous period furnishings from key artists in the Art Deco movement, including Austrian architect and designer Josef Hoffman (1870-1956) and French architect and furniture designer Pierre Chareau (1883-1950).

Chairs in mahogany and fabric by Pierre Chaureau, c. 1920; table by Edgar Brandt. Ise Foundation.

Chairs in mahogany and fabric by Pierre Chaureau, c. 1920; table by Edgar Brandt. Ise Foundation.

Detail of firescreen in wrought iron by Edgar Brandt, 1920. Ise Foundation.

Detail of firescreen in wrought iron by Edgar Brandt, 1920. Ise Foundation.

There are also works by Austrians Koloman Moser (1898-1962) and Josef Maria Olbrich (1867-1908)  and of course French glass artist René  Lalique (1860-1945), whose works are part of the permanent fittings of the Prince Asaka Residence.

Coffee set by Anne-Marie Fontaine, 1921. Sèvres porcelain.

I deeply covet this coffee set by Anne-Marie Fontaine, 1921. Sèvres porcelain.

After touring the residence, we’ll move on to the new wing of the museum, which is currently showing classic Art Deco posters collected by the late clothing designer Ruki Matsumoto. Believing that posters are “mirrors on their times,” Matsumoto amassed a collection of more than 20,000 before his death in 2012.

Two versions of a poster for furniture store Au Bucheron designed by A.M. Cassandres, 1925 and 1926

Posters designed for furniture store Au Bucheron by A.M. Cassandres, 1925 and 1926

Finally, there is a whole room of stupendous pieces in glass by René Lalique, all collected by Japanese egg magnate Seiichirō Omura and his son Yoshiro. Interestingly, there are also several works by Lalique’s daughter, Suzanne, who was an artist in her own right

Athletes, by Rene Lalique, c. 1912. Ohmura Art Museum, Akita, Japan

Athletes, by Lalique, c. 1912. Omura Art Museum, Akita, Japan

Figures in glass by Lalique. Omura Art Museum, Akita.

Figures in glass by Lalique. Omura Art Museum, Akita.

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