When Tokyo Fuji Art Museum (TFAM) opened its doors to the public for the first time in November 1983, it did so in stellar fashion: “Masterpieces of French Art,” the grand opening exhibition featuring renowned French paintings from the collections of eight of France’s finest museums, including the Louvre and Versailles Museum of the History of France. That a private museum, whose record of achievement was nonexistent which few knew even existed, could organize the showing of such an impressive array of works defied convention.

The man who was instrumental to the successful exhibition was René Huyghe (1906-97), the acclaimed French art historian who is credited with saving the Mona Lisa and other national treasures from Nazi looters in World War II.

In 1974, Huyghe accompanied Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece for a showing in Japan, where he met with Daisaku Ikeda who had been in dialogue with intellectuals from around the world.

Huyghe came away impressed by Ikeda’s belief that the finest works of art should be shared and appreciated by as many people as possible, and the two developed a strong friendship that would culminate in numerous collaborations that included the publishing of their dialogue, Dawn After Dark.

It was Huyghe who persuaded many of the most prestigious museums in France to provide their collected works for TFAM’s grand opening exhibition. And through his assistance, Ikeda’s aspirations to inspire people of the world through appreciation of art and uniting them through exchange of culture began to assume tangible shape.

TFAM took two years to complete, with preparations initiated in 1981 and construction begun in November that year.

Premier works of art strike and stir our hearts. And because art draws upon and reflects the very essence of the human soul, it bonds us on a profound level. TFAM has actively striven to present the world’s finest artwork both in Japan and abroad, introducing through innovative perspectives special exhibitions promoting the international exchange of culture.

Our commitment to serve as a window unto the world through the arts and culture remains as firm as ever, a mission embraced since TFAM’s founding that will continue with even greater vigor in the decades ahead.

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