Tsuguharu Foujitaâ€™s massive wall painting moved to new art museum
“Akita no Gyouji” (Akita celebration), a massive wall panel painting by western-style painter Tsuguharu Foujita (1886 – 1968), was relocated on Saturday to the new Akita Museum of Art scheduled to open on September 28th. In what became a massive undertaking, the large-scale painting was moved for the first time in 46 years by crane.
The five panel oil painting, which is 3.65 meters high and 20.5 meters wide, was completed by Foujita in 1937. Foujita was commissioned to create the piece when plans to build an art museum first emerged. “Akita no Gyouji” is a tribute to the colorful lifestyle of Akita Prefecture, depicting a traditional festival scene with lanterns and snow huts.
Work to carefully transplant the painting began on Saturday at 4AM during intermittent rain showers. The canvas panels were packaged into specially designed wooden boxes and carried in sequence to the new facility 300 meters away. Due to its sheer size, the painting could not be carried through the regular service doors but instead had to be passed through a glass window located on the 2nd floor by crane.
Work personnel broke into applause when the final panel was lifted through just after 8AM.Installation will begin on September 1st. “We are glad that we were able to safely move the piece in spite of the difficulty, and we’ll be cautious during the installation as well,” said a coordinator.
Originally from Tokyo, Foujita became popular in Paris and belongs to a distinct group of French and non-French artists known as the School of Paris (École de Paris). His work “Milky White Skin,” a unique painting of a female form, became a highly acclaimed piece in France. “Akita no Gyouji” will be available for viewing when the Akita Museum of Art officially opens to the public on September 28th.