Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art Sakura, Japan

The Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art (DIC川村記念美術館) is an art museum in Sakura, Japan, designed by Ichiro Ebihara (海老原一郎 Ebihara Ichiro?). The museum opened in 1990 and its collection now contains more than 1000 works collected by the Japanese resin and ink manufacturer DIC Corporation. The project was largely the brainchild of Katsumi Kawamura, the former president of DIC, founder and first director of the museum, who had been collecting art since the 1970s. The Kawamura Memorial Museum contains artwork by a wide selection of American, European and Japanese artists, including special exhibitions of the works of Mark Rothko and Frank Stella.

Around the museum, a 30-hectare park with over 200 kinds of trees, 500 kinds of plants and inhabited by many wild birds and insects invites for walking and enjoying nature.

According to DIC corporation, the museum has had a positive impact on the image of the company. At the end of the 20th century, the museum was attracting over 300,000 visitors each year. Former president Shigekuni Kawamura commented that ‘customers…evaluate us highly as a cultivated, international company which is not concerned solely with its business. This is not an outcome we planned, but is a very satisfying one’.

Opening hours are 9:30-17:00 (last admission 16:30); the museum is closed on Mondays (except national holidays, then closed next non-holiday) and between December 25 to January 1. The museum may close temporarily during the installation of an exhibition. A free shuttle bus connects JR Sakura station and Keisei-Sakura Station with the museum. Additionally, it is connected to Tokyo station by expressway bus.

In order to publicly exhibit art collected by DIC Corporation and its affiliates have collected, Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art opened in Sakura City, Chiba prefecture in May 1990, adjacent to the DIC Central Research Laboratory. Currently, the number of collected artworks exceeds 1000.

The first collected artwork was Crows and Herons (Important Cultural Asset) by Tohaku Hasegawa. It is known that Katsumi Kawamura (1905~1999), the founder, second president and the first museum director, often engaged himself with, and experienced immense joy from the artwork in his spare time when he was not busy with the challenges of managing the company.

From the beginning of the 1970s, art collecting became established. Focusing on 20th century art such as Picasso, Braque, Kandinsky, Malevich and Cornell, the collection developed.

Also, artworks of emergent artists of the same era, who had not yet been introduced in Japan, and American Contemporary painters such as Louis and Stella who were starting to be recognized in Europe, were focused upon at an early time and collected.

Katsumi Kawamura’s long-term dream of “establishing a museum” soon became more of a reality. Western painting masterpieces were further collected and the third president, Shigekuni Kawamura, (1928~1999) who had a deep interest in post-war American Art, collected Rothko’s mural artworks, Newman’s Anna’s light and various works of Stella, which are significant in American Art history. Thus, the current foundation of the collection was formed.

Additionally, a precious portrait by the 17th century Dutch master, Rembrandt, and Japanese paintings that are unique to Japan in relation to nature and the expression of space, such as the works of Taikan Yokoyama, Kansetsu Hashimoto, play an important part in the museum’s collection and are enjoyed by a wide range of people.