Art + Living: Takashimaya. The Department Store as a Culture Setter (Exhibition Info)

Art + Living: Takashimaya The Department Store as a Culture Setter 

presented by the Setagaya Museum of Art and Takashimaya

In the Meiji period, artists were presented with an alternative site to exhibit their work- the department store.

Artists who were engaged by department stores now had access to additional exhibition opportunites and new ways to promote themselves. Working with these commercial ventures also introduced new dimensions to their practices as they experimented with both different formats and media for the production of commercial goods.

This new way of engagement was a radical depature from the exclusive patronage relationships seen for instance, during the Edo period. The artists’ designs were now far-reaching to a wider and even international audience made possible by the department stores.

Japanese textiles based on the collaborations of artists and textile designers were being showcased in international expositions. Other collaborations were evident in advertising, fashion and design.

Focusing on the role of the department store as a cultural institution, Art + Living: Takashimaya. The Department Store as a Culture Setter presents works of art from the collection of the Takashimaya Historical Museum and explores the cultural history of this Japanese department store in such fields as design, architecture, advertisement, and fashion.

Of particular interest to us here will be the nihonga works on display both at the Setagaya museum and at select Takashimaya department stores as part of its Art Walking programme.

Screen shot 2013-05-05 at PM 10.17.51

Kyoto Painting Circles and Kamisaka Sekka 


4/24 – 5/6 Yokohama Takashimaya Gallery (8th Flr)

5/29 – 6/10 Nihonbashi Takashimaya 8th Flr

The Respendence of the Nihon-Bijutsu-in (Japan Art Institute)


4/24 – 5/12

Tamagawa Takashimaya West Annex Arena Hall (1 Flr)


Takashimaya was not the only department store who engaged artists for commercial ventures. For more information on the roles of Department Stores, their Artists and its influence, please refer to the following:

Julia Sapin, “Merchandising Art and Identity in Meiji Japan: Kyoto Nihonga Artists’ Designs for Takashimaya Department Store, 1868 – 1912”. Journal of Design History, Vol. 17. No.4. The Design History Society: 2004, pp.317 – 336.

Younjung Oh, “Art into Everyday Life: Department Store as Purveyors of Culture in Modern Japan”. Phd Thesis. University of Southern California: 2012.

Ellen P.Conant, Challenging Past and Present: The Metamorphosi of Nineteenth-Century Japanese Art. University of Hawaii:2006.


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