I first encountered the works of Salvador Dali in 1975 at the Dali Museum in Figueres, Spain. While art appreciation had been a hobby of mine, that was my first time to see hundreds of Dali’s works together in one place.
Rather than the realism of the Impressionists and others, Dali’s works depicting dreams and illusions overturned traditional ways of thinking. Since then I was fascinated by Dali and surrealism, and I have collected his prints, paintings, and other works.
Then, in 1991 NHK sponsored a Dali exhibition in Tokyo. The exhibition included 37 sculptures from the collection of the Stratton Foundation in Paris. I was impressed with the way those works evoked even more power and dreamlike visions than Dali’s prints and paintings.
After that exhibition of sculptures was over, circumstances arose in which I had the opportunity to obtain all of them. It truly was a fortuitous encounter. At that moment, I suddenly had the dream of building a museum of Dali’s art.
After that, I had to overcome the three practical challenges of collecting works of art, securing land, and constructing the museum buildings. The past 10 years have passed in a flash as I have kept busy attending auctions at the world’s two largest auction houses, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, more than 10 times along with touring art museums in Europe and North America, searching for a building site, and devising construction plans.
I forgot all about the passage of time as I strived to chase my dream and make it reality. If one keeps believing in his or her dream, then he or she can solve great challenges one after the other. In the process, I was able to meet many people who cooperated in the project and to learn many valuable lessons.
I still experience a thrill when I recall the great applause from the auction houses in London and New York when I won the auctions on Dali’s largest-ever work, The Battle of Tetuan (three meters high by four meters wide), Utrillo’s Rue des Saules à Montmartre, his masterpiece from his white period, and Vacant Land through a Forest, a tour de force by Cézanne when he was 30 years old.
While the museum’s collection is structured mainly around Dali’s works, it also includes works by more than 20 19th- and 20th-century greats including Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, and Chagall. My duty over the coming decade or two is to enrich the Morohashi Museum of Modern Art by adding to its collection of great works of art, one at a time.
The museum also has recently obtained formal registration as a museum under the Museum Act.
We hope to be able to contribute to fostering a rich cultural environment here in Fukushima Prefecture.
(From “Occasional essays” in the October 1999 issue of Bunka Fukushima)