Internationally-acclaimed nihon-ga painter, Hiroshi Senju, one of Japan’s most revered contemporary artists, created twenty full-scale murals for Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. The murals were installed on decorative paper sliding doors (fusuma, 襖) and in the central alcove (tokonoma, 床の間), replacing the original murals destroyed by vandals in the 1970s. Shofuso is the first and only place in the United States to house such a unique and traditional Japanese art installation.
Senju is renowned for his unique combination of modernism expressed through the traditional method of Japanese painting. In 1995 he was the first Asian artist to be awarded an Honorable Mention at the Venice Biennale with his paintings of Waterfall. In 2011, the Hiroshi Senju Museum opened in Karuizawa, featuring a collection consisting of about 100 works, including his best-known works, such as “Waterfall,” “When the Stardust Falls,” “Cliff,” and “Falling Color.”
After visiting Shofuso in 2004, Senju said, “I can sense the presence of Japan.” He carefully planned his creation of the murals, spending hours observing Shofuso at different times to select pigments that reflect the colors and atmosphere of the building and garden. The result are murals that both exemplify his signature style as well as the hues and feeling of the setting.