Japanese House and Garden
4700 States Drive, Ohio House
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Contact: Prudence P. Haines, Executive Director
Artistic Masterpiece Comes to Philadelphia’s Japanese House and Garden
January 26, 2007, Philadelphia, PA – Internationally acclaimed Nihon-ga painter, Hiroshi Senju, one of Japan’s most revered contemporary artists, has completed twenty full-scale murals for the Japanese House and Garden, Shofuso, in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. The murals will be installed on paper sliding doors (fusuma) and a centerpiece alcove (tokonoma) wall in the interior of the house and will replace the original ones destroyed by vandals in the 1970s. These new murals –to be installed in April 2007– will make the Japanese House the first and only place in in the United States to house such a unique and traditional Japanese art installation.
Hiroshi Senju is renowned for his unique combination of modernism expressed through an ancient method of Japanese painting. In 1995 he became the first Asian to be awarded an Honorable Mention at the Venice Biennale with his paintings of Waterfall. He was recognized as one of the artists who can lead and contribute to the new trends for the next generation of art.
Recognizing on a 2004 visit that the Japanese House is an architectural and artistic masterpiece in which “I can sense the presence of Japan”, Hiroshi Senju carefully planned his creation of the murals. Senju spent hours at the House selecting pigments that reflect the colors and atmosphere of the building and garden. The result is murals that both exemplify his signature style as well as the hues and feeling of the setting.
The Japanese House is now being prepared for the installation. Japanese craftsmen, using centuries old techniques, are carefully making the paper sliding doors that will house the murals. Starting mid-February, a group of Japanese conservationists will arrive to prepare the House for the murals including refinishing walls, repairing wooden doors and replacing part of the veranda floors. The murals, currently exhibited at Yamatane Museum of Art in Tokyo, will be transported to Philadelphia in April to be permanently installed at the Japanese House. A dedication ceremony for the murals is scheduled Sunday, April 29, 2007. The House and Garden will open for the 2007 season on May 1st.
For over fifty years, the Japanese House and Garden, in Fairmount Park has served as a symbol of Japanese–American friendship and is considered a cultural treasure in both Japan and America. The house was designed in 1954 for exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art to introduce American audiences to Japanese design. The house was relocated to Fairmount Park in 1958 as a gift from the people of Japan.