Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
ICOM Kyoto 2019 Commemorative
The Yamamura Collection: Gutai and the Japanese Avant-Garde in 1950s-1980s
August 3 (Sat.)-September 29 (Sun.), 2019
Our greatest avant-garde art collection is on display for the first time in two decades!
An exhibition so big we had to enlarge the display area specially for this occasion.

The Yamamura Collection is made up of avant-garde works of art from postwar Japan collected by Yamamura Tokutaro (1926-1986), an entrepreneur who lived in Nishinomiya, Hyogo. After his death, the 167 pieces by 68 artists were collectively obtained by the then Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Modern Art , and those works constitute an essential part of the contemporary art collection of today’s Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art. The collection, built up with a view to creating public goods for the future, boasts both a quality and quantity that are unusual for a private collection. As such, there have been few opportunities to showcase the whole collection at one place, although individual works have often been on display in our museum as well as in other institutions in and out of Japan.

In addition to our ordinary exhibition gallery for special exhibitions, the gallery in the annex will also be used for this event, allowing the Yamamura Collection to be presented in its entirety for the first time in two decades, at the largest scale in its history.

Exhibition highlights
Demonstrates postwar-Japan avant-garde art such as Gutai
Essential works constituting the art history of postwar Japan will be on display, covering Japanese abstract art in its early days, the world-renowned avant-garde artistic group Gutai, and the “New Wave” of the 1980s. The approximately 140 pieces selected under the theme of between the abstract and “flesh and blood“ avant-garde are novel things for us living in the 21st century.
Focuses on Yamamura’s foresight-featuring today’s hot topics such as reproduction and oral history
The president of a bottle-making company, Yamamura Tokutaro, was a figure ahead of his time. In his later years, in addition to the purchase of futuristic works of art, he was also engaged in ambitious projects of reproducing experimental works that had been lost. This may be a pioneering case example of investigative research activities in the field of art utilizing oral history and archives, which are now popular.
“Life is Encounters”-Yamamura Tokutaro’s yet-unknown collection story woven in a bold manner
How did Yamamura gather these works and build his collection? This exhibition highlights his collection process, which has never been focused on before. Through interviews with related people and study of documentary records, we inferred and formed a “collection story,” based on which we designed the exhibition.

Movie(60 sec.)
Yamamura Tokutaro (1926-1986)

Yamamura was born in Nishinomiya, Hyogo in September 1926. In 1948, right after World War II, he became director of Yamamura Glass Works at a young age. In 1955, he became president of the newly incorporated Yamamura Glass Co., Ltd. Around that time, he began collecting works of art with his mother Haru. They first collected works of modern art both from Japan and abroad. However, after Haru’s death, he donated seven great works by overseas artists, including Joan Miro, from his collection to the National Museum of Western Art. Since then, he has focused on works of art from postwar Japan. In 1983, he retired from his position as president to serve as an advisor. He passed away in January 1986 at the age of 59.

Yamamura Tokutaro watching the reproduction process of Murakami Saburo’s Work “Sky”1984 at Art Space (Nishinomiya) Photo by Ono Kazunori
Selected works from the exhibition


August 3 (Sat.) - September 29 (Sun.), 2019


Mondays (The next day instead if Monday is a public holiday)

Hours of operation:

10:00-18:00 (Entry until 17:30)
* Friday and Saturday during Special Exhibitions 10:00-20:00 (Entry until 19:30)


Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
(Temporary Exhibition Gallery and Exhibition Gallery)

Organized by:
Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, THE KOBE SHIMBUN

With the support of:

With the sponsorship of:
TKG Foundation for Arts & Culture, Ito Cultural Foundation

With the grant of:
Tadao Ando Cultural Foundation

Number of works displayed:
Approx. 140 (all from the Yamamura Collection)


  Normal Group
(20 or more)
(until Aug. 2)
[width disabilities *1*2]
[ - ]
University students
[width disabilities *1*2]
[ - ]
70 and over *1 650yen 550yen
High school students
or younger
*1 Proof/ID required
*2 Free for one caregiver per person with a disability
Admission for Collection Exhibition sold separately (Discount applied for those also visiting this exhibition)


- Approx. 8 min. walk to the south from Hanshin Railway Iwaya Station
- Approx. 10 min. walk to the south from JR Kobe Line Nada Station south exit
- Approx. 20 min. walk to the southwest from Hankyu Railway Oji-koen Station west exit
- Approx. 15 min. by Kobe City Bus (Route 29 or 101) or Hanshin Bus for HAT Kobe from the south side of JR Sannomiya Station. Get off at “Kenritsu Bijutsukan-mae” bus stop.