|Masanari Murai Memorial Museum of Art officially opened on March 29, 2005,
on what would have been the Japanese celebration of the artist's 100th
birthday. Architectural design of the museum was by Kengo Kuma; graphics
by Kenya Hara.
Masanari Murai graduated from university in 1928 and almost immediately left for France with the intention of further developing his skills as a landscape painter. In Paris, the impact of direct contact with abstract art was such that Murai began to simplify his landscapes, exploring his own approach to abstract painting.
After returning to Japan in 1932, Murai became one of Japan's pioneers in the area of abstract art; he was a leader in its promotion, exhibition and education. It was Murai’s dying wish that the bulk of his works be entrusted to the Setagaya Art Museum, although limited donations were also made to The National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo and Kyoto.
This museum includes in its exhibits a portion of the studio where Murai painted in his later years, preserved as it would have been at the time he was still alive: full of artworks, unpublished materials, and a variety of small objects that he enjoyed having around his work area.
Itsuko Murai, Museum Director
photo by Ryuji Miyamoto