Tsune Nakamura Atelier Museum 新宿区立中村彝アトリエ記念館

While writing about Ikebukuro’s post-WW2 black market, I learned about the arts movements that thrived west of Ikebukuro station prior to World War II. There were so many artists that the term Ikebukuro Montparnasse 池袋モンパルナス was coined, an obvious reference to the Bohemian Parisian neighborhood. Other terms include “Nagasaki Atelier Village 長崎アトリエ村” and “Sakuragaoka Parthenon” さくらが丘パルテノン, which were concentrations of artists’ studios, as depicted by this miniature model:

Most of the studios were built following the devastating 1923 earthquake, and most (all?) no longer exist. Fortunately, a studio built before the earthquake is still with us:

Tsune Nakamura Atelier Museum 新宿区立中村彝アトリエ記念館

This atelier, built in 1916, was the studio of painter Nakamura Tsune 中村彝 (1887-1924), and has operated as a museum since 2013. The main attraction is the building itself, which is set-up to reflect the way the Nakamura used it, allowing visitors to feel a connection to the artist. Other than the building and grounds, there is not much else to see; there is little art on display, but the museum includes books of Nakamura’s art, historical photographs of Shinjuku, and a well-made video documentary. I highly recommened this museum for architecture enthusiasts, history nerds, and people looking for an off-the-beaten path cultural experience in Tokyo.

Building exterior:

Studio interior, with north-facing floor-to-ceiling window, and the garden view to the south:

Paintings and other artifacts:

Museum Information:

  • Tsune Nakamura Atelier Museum 新宿区立中村彝アトリエ記念館
  • Location: 〒161-0033 東京都新宿区下落合3丁目5付近   (Google maps)
  • Nearest station: JR Mejiro Station (Yamanote Line)
  • Free admission
  • Hours: 10:00 – 4:30 (Closed Mondays)
  • See website

See also:

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