In 1990, I opened a psychiatry clinic in Tokyo’s Kamata district. At the time I had sought out paintings to adorn the walls of the clinic’s waiting room, which in essence marked the start of my collection. That being said, the works I acquired back then had centered on lithographic works by the likes of Clavé and Tàpies. I eventually began collecting a significant number of small-scale works by Kusama Yayoi and Lee Ufan from various secondary galleries, having simultaneously opened my eyes to the interestingness and enjoyment of exploring art galleries. From 1997, I started visiting exhibitions by artists such as Aida Makoto and Kusama Yayoi where I purchased some of their latest works, leading to the substantial development of my collection. Ever since, I have been able to collect notable works by some of Japan’s leading artists including Nara Yoshitomo, Murakami Takashi, Yamaguchi Akira, Konoike Tomoko, Kato Izumi, Miyanaga Aiko, Nawa Kohei, Chiba Masaya, and Chim↑Pom, among others.
I believe that whether or not you are able to create a collection depends on a perceptive eye, luck, and financial resources.
In terms of having a keen eye for art, I feel confident in saying that my abilities are pretty fair, as I have held over 20 collection exhibitions thus far in various art museums throughout the world.
When it comes to luck, it is about whether time is on your side. There is no doubt that the time in which I started developing my collection was a very awkward period for Japanese contemporary art. It was an era in which those with wealth had lost interest in art due to the collapse of the bubble economy, and in the world of art, many authorities and persons of influence became eclipsed. Japan as a nation, had gradually lost its former momentum.
It was then when Japanese contemporary art underwent its own distinct evolution, which stemmed from a foundation of subculture.
In a sense, it could be described as the oriental maturity of a new era.
My collection is entirely in parallel with this period, so it would mean that I was in luck should the art of these times come to be valued and recognized.
I don’t think I am qualified to talk about money as I am not really a person of fortune, but let’s just say that I am not interested in money worship like that observed in The Price of Everything *1 or collecting art for investment purposes as recently seen in Japan.
In any case, art is a beautiful yet fierce crystallization of humanity’s excessiveness.
It would give me great pleasure if the Takahashi Ryutaro Collection could serve as an opportunity for people to enjoy even but a mere fragment of the remarkable creations of our times.
*1 The Price of Everything, documentary film (USA), 2018, directed by: Nathaniel Kahn
About the Takahashi Ryutaro Collection
The Takahashi Ryutaro Collection is a contemporary art collection started in earnest by psychiatrist, Takahashi Ryutaro in 1997.
Starting from Kusama Yayoi and Goda Sawako, the collection focuses on contemporary Japanese art, and is particularly outstanding in terms of both quality and quantity for its extensive line-up of artists’ works produced since the 1990s. Consisting of many early and representative works by artists such as Nara Yoshitomo, Murakami Takashi, Yanobe Kenji, Konoike Tomoko, Aida Makoto, Yamaguchi Akira, Nawa Kohei, Kato Izumi, Miyanaga Aiko, and Ikeda Manabu who are today highly acclaimed figures within the international art scene, more than a hundred works are loaned out annually to various exhibitions both in Japan and overseas.
Since 2008, collection exhibitions have been held in 23 public and private art museums across the world. Through exhibitions such as, neoteny japan –Takahashi Collection (Kirishima Open Air Museum, Sapporo Art Park, the Ueno Royal Museum, and other venues), TAKAHASHI COLLECTION: Mindfulness! (Nagoya City Art Museum and other venues), TAKAHASHI COLLECTION: Mirror Neuron (Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery), and Cosmos / Intime –The Takahashi Collection (Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris), it continues to provide various opportunities to encounter some of the most remarkable contemporary artists and their works.
In 2020, Takahashi Ryutaro received the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Award for his great contribution to the promotion and popularization of contemporary art.
At the exhibition, INSIDE THE COLLECTOR’S VAULT, Vol.1 which was held at the WHAT MUSEUM in Warehouse TERRADA opened in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the works of Goda Sawako, Kusama Yayoi, Aida Makoto that are in essence the origins of the Takahashi Ryutaro Collection, were presented along with large-scale masterpieces by Kondo Aki and Imazu Kei, as well as works of a new trend and generation of artists including Suzuki Hiraku, Umezawa Kazuki, Mohri Yuko, Kawauchi Rikako, Mitobe Nanae, DIEGO, and BIEN.
The collection currently continues to be in progression, with Ryutaro Takahashi actively engaging in discovering new artists, in addition to his on-going efforts towards the reassessment of artworks.
Psychiatrist. Born in Yamagata prefecture in 1946, Takahashi spent his elementary through high school years in Nagoya, Aichi prefecture. After graduating from the Faculty of Medicine at Toho University, he entered the Department of Neuropsychiatry at Keio University. After working in Peru as a medical specialist for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in 1990 he opened the Takahashi Clinic in the Kamata area of Tokyo, serving as its Director. As Director General of the Kokoro no Kai Group (the Medical Corporation Aggregate), specializing in social psychiatry, Takahashi works in community mental health care, particularly day care and home care services, while also directing his energies to psychological counseling and mental health care for businesspeople.
In recognition of his continuing contribution to the promotion and dissemination of contemporary art in Japan, Takahashi received the Agency for Cultural Affairs Commissioner’s Commendation in 2020.
Takahashi is a prolific writer, the author of “Gendai Bijutsu Collector” (Collector of Contemporary Art), “Ren-ai no Saho” (Manners of Love) and so on.