足立美術館

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日本一の庭園をつくった男 足立全康

足立美術館について

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Great Gardens and Yokoyama Taikan Collection

The first question visitors to the Adachi Museum of Art ask, indeed the one they most often ask, is why there are so many works by Yokoyama Taikan. Visitors also seem puzzled by the Japanese-style garden, as though it is a mystery for such a magnificent garden to be located here in such a rural setting.
The answer to both puzzles lies with Adachi Zenko, the museum’s founder. Adachi felt a strong resonance between the sublime sensibility of the Japanese-style garden and the paintings of Yokoyama Taikan which he wished visitors to experience. Adachi constructed his Japanese garden with the hope that through its seasonal expression of natural beauty visitors would be inspired to view Taikan’s paintings with a renewed sense of appreciation. This new appreciation would then lead to increased interest in the works of other Japanese painters, fulfilling Adachi’s hope that visitors would be “moved by beauty.”

名園と横山大観コレクション

The Dry Landscape Garden

History of The Museum

Adachi Zenko was born on February 8, 1899, in Iinashi Village in what is now 320 Furukawa-cho, Yasugi City, Shimane Prefecture, the site of the museum. Immediately after primary school, he went to work on his family’s farm, but seeing that his parents’ hard work was to no avail, he resolved to become a merchant.
At age 14, he took a job hauling charcoal by handcart from the countryside, near where the museum stands today, to the port of Yasugi 15 kilometers away. One day it occurred to him that he could probably sell charcoal to the people living along his route, so he ordered extra, which indeed he was able to sell. When Adachi discovered that he could double his income this way, he became interested in business. Throughout his life, this interest in business was expressed in many ways. He became a textile wholesaler in Osaka after World War II, and also dabbled in real estate. At the same time, he began collecting works by Japanese painters, something he had loved since his youth, and eventually became known as an art collector.
Designing gardens, something he had loved above all else since his youth, became a passion. Finally, in 1980, at the age of 71, as a way of showing gratitude to his hometown and to enhance the cultural development of Shimane Prefecture, Adachi established the Adachi Museum of Art.
Adachi’s passion for collecting art was well known, but perhaps his greatest accomplishment was his 1979 combined purchase of several Taikan works from the Kitazawa Collection, including Autumn Leaves, Mountain after a shower, and Summer.

幼少期の足立全康

Adachi Zenko at the age of 14, when he was already in business (behind the center)

Story of Collecting Paintings

When he first saw Autumn Leaves, a pair of six-panel folding screens, at the Exhibition of Yokoyama Taikan in Nagoya in 1978, its beauty took his breath away. Seeking to learn more about this work, he discovered that it was a part of the elusive Kitazawa Collection, known as the “phantom collection” because few of the artworks had ever been exhibited. The administrator of the collection at the time was also in possession of nearly 20 other Taikan’s works, most of which had been entered by the artist in various competitions and were therefore relatively well known.
Even more surprising was that the collection contained Mountain after a shower, a work that Adachi had long fascinated over, framing a reproduction he had cut out of a book. After two years of tough negotiating for these works, the collection’s administrative committee declared at the last minute that they wanted to remove Mountain after a shower and Summer from the works on sale. For Adachi, this was tantamount to heartbreak, and he made an impassioned plea to the committee. In his autobiography he described the moment thus: “It was as if I had fallen in love with a geisha at first sight, and then, after seeing her regularly for two years, all the while negotiating the price for her release, watching her run away clutching her pillow on the night of the nuptial rites.” He eventually convinced the committee to sell him the works.

幼少期の足立全康

Yokoyama Taikan “Autumn Leaves”