March 25, 2021
Post the emergency declaration lifting on March 21, 2021, we visited Hakone, a famous resort area about an hour away from Tokyo. Hakone, a popular destination for Japanese families and foreign travelers, is well-known for its hot springs, beautiful scenery, and famous art museums. Some of our favorites include the Okada Museum of Art, the Pola Museum of Art, and the Hakone Open-Air Museum.
■ The Hakone Open-Air Museum
1121 Ninotaira, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Open: 9:00 am to 5 pm, all year-round
Access: from JR Odawara Station, take the bus bound for Gora Station to get off at Chokoku-no-Mori.
The Hakone Open-Air Museum, my personal favorite, has benefited from many updates since our last visit more than 10 years ago. This outdoor sculpture garden was the first-of-its-kind in Japan, setting contemporary artworks against a splendid mountain backdrop. “Miss Black Power” by Niki de Saint-Phalle is striking surrounded by greenery in her colorful costume. She is full of vitality and energy.
The artworks are categorized as follows:
■ Outdoor Sculptures
Once through the gate, sculptures display amid an exquisite garden of 70,000 square meters. These 120 outdoor masterpieces by Japanese and world masters of modern and contemporary art, including Rodin, Miro, and Moore, are the museum’s greatest attraction.
■ Picasso Collection
The Hakone Open-Air Museum purchased more than 300 works from Pablo Picasso’s daughter, Maya Picasso. This collection of painting, sculpture, tapestry, and ceramics are showcased in the Picasso pavilion.
We see Picasso’s talent illuminated in a variety of artworks employing various techniques, breathing life into objects–a testament to his belief that “everything you can imagine is real .”
Three galleries feature different themes: Gallery 1 - Picasso’s challenge. Gallery 2–Let’s do it again. Picasso’s interest and devotion to ceramics are exhibited in this gallery. Gallery 3–Transformation of form. Picasso created three-dimensional works in bronze, gold, and silver.
It was fun to see “Portrait of Jacqueline as a Bride,” for which the artist changed the original plate 18 times.
■ Henry Moore
Moore said, “sculpture is an art of the open air,” and this open-air garden offers an ideal setting for appreciating Moore’s larger-than-life sculptures.
Moore’s work is divided into three themes: mother and child, reclining figures, and internal/external forms. They are powerful bronzes.
■ Medardo Rosso
Rosso brought the Impressionist techniques to sculpture. Twelve of his masterpieces are known for their manipulation of light, air, and color.
■ Indoor Exhibitions
Masterpieces by Brancusi, Giacometti, and other artists are displayed indoors.