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The Polyphony of Function and Decoration

The Modern was born, in its many forms, from resonances that transcend genre and national borders. In the period from the 1910s through the 1930s, the Modern appeared in a variety of forms.

Modernism based on functionalism is now regarded as having been the central trend. The Modern emerged, however, in the period in which mass consumer culture developed, an era of an ephemeral modernity, in which value was placed on decorating, as a means of keeping up with trends, of being new, always. These two versions of the Modern, commonly seen as in opposition to each other, encompassed a variety of forms of modernity and, relating to each other complexly, created an age of abundant concepts and forms.

Artists active then shared information promptly, working in synchrony in ways that transcended national and genre borders. Their work encompassed every aspect of life, private and public: paintings and sculptures, furniture, tableware, clothing, the buildings and the cities that housed and accommodated them—and us today.

The Wiener Werkstätte in Vienna and the French fashion designer Paul Poiret stimulated each other. The Wiener Werkstätte also influenced the architect and interior designer Robert Mallet-Stevens and other modernists in France. In Japan, Moriya Nobuo and Saito Kazo shared their view of life in general. Sonia Delaunay, an artist known for Simultanism, also worked wholeheartedly in fashion design. Modernists such as René Herbst, an architect and furniture designer, were intensely interested in the design of show windows, which adorned city streets. At the Bauhaus, in Germany, women artists shed new light on textiles. After the Bauhaus closed, artists from there who moved to the Burg Giebichenstein School of Arts and Crafts engaged in making that German institution their setting for education in the applied arts.

As the outbreak in 1914 of the first world war inhuman history signifies, the most important events in this period occurred in synchrony, throughout the world. This exhibition introduces the many forms of the Modern that artists, interacting with each other on occasion and resonating in polyphony, sought in those times of rapid change.

Instagram account as follows;

function_and_decoration >>

the special Instagram account for this exhibition, Information introducing the exhibits and inside stories about the exhibition preparations.

Visiting information


The Polyphony of Function and Decoration
Modern Synchronized and Stimulated Each Other


Saturday, December 17, 2022 – Sunday, March 5, 2023

Mondays (except January 9), during the New Year’s holidays (December 28 – January 4), and on Tuesday, January 10.


Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
5-21-9, Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tel 050-5541-8600


10:00 - 18:00 (Last admission at 17:30)


Online reservation is recommended for the exhibition.
Reserve Ticket for Your Visit here.

  General Group
Adults General¥1,400 Advance/Group¥1,120
University students General¥1,120 Advance/Group¥890
Middle & high school students General¥700 Advance/Group¥560
Senior (65 and over) General¥700 Advance/Group¥560

・A ticket for admission to the Museum also admits you to the garden.
・Figures in parentheses are group admission fees (for groups of 20 or more).
・Admission is free for elementary and younger students and for middle school students residing in or attending school in Tokyo.
・Admission is free for visitors (and two accompanying persons) with a Physical Disability Certificate, Intellectual Disability Certificate, Rehabilitation Certificate, Mental Disability Certificate, or Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate.
・Admission is free for teacher-led educational visits by Tokyo primary, junior high, and high school students.
Admission is free for seniors (65 and above) on the third Wednesday of each month.
Suspended until further notice

Organized by

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum,
Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture

With special cooperation from

the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo,
Tokyo University of the Arts,
Misawa Homes Co., Ltd.

With cooperation from

Japan Airlines Co., Ltd.,
Yamato Transport Co., Ltd.

With the annual co-sponsorship of

Toda Corporation,
Bloomberg L.P. Bloomberg
Van Cleef & Arpels

Subsidezed by

Japan Foundation for Regional Art-Activities (JAFRA)

The Catalogue

The Polyphony of Function and Decoration official exhibition catalogue

Available for purchase at our museum shop and bookstores during the exhibition period.
Price: ¥3300 (including tax)
Publisher: The Polyphony of Function and Decoration Executive Committee and AKAAKA Art Publishing, Inc.
Size: H290mm × W210mm
Page length: 344 pages
ISBN: 978-4-86541-147-8
This large volume includes a variety of essays by experts in many fields as well as over 400 illustrations of the works.


  • Chapter1:1900-1913

    German Applied Arts and Turning Point at the Wiener Werkstätte

    Paul Poret and the Wiener Werkstätte

    Poiret and New Trends in French Fashion

    The Changing Circumstances of French Interior Décor

  • Chapter2:1914-1918

    Dagobert Peche and the Wiener Werkstätte during World War 1

    Franz Čížek and the Vienna School of Applied Arts

  • Chapter3:1919-1925

    Female Creators at the Wiener Werkstätte

    Life-Improvement Movement in Japan

    Old and New Style Interior Decoration in France

    The Development of French fashion after World War 1

    Decoration and Abstraction

    Urban Art – Art of Street

    The Early Years of the Bauhaus

  • Chapter4:1926-1938

    Bauhaus after the Move to Dessau

    Away from the Bauhaus

    UAM and French Modern Design

    Modernism in Fashion

    Japanese Modern Design

Related Programs

  • Programs to be held during the exhibition period will be announced in the News section of this website.

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1.[Parfums de rosine]/painting:Atelier Martine, Perfume Bottle "The True Eau de Cologne," ca.1912|Umi-Mori Art Museum
2.Jeanne Lanvin, Dress "Robe de Style," 1926-27|The Kyoto Costume Institute
3.Josef Hoffman, Centerpiece Bow, 1924l|Mariko Fujita
4.Pierre Chareau, Floor Stand "Nun," 1923|The National museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
5.Paul Poiret, Garden Party Dress, 1911|Iwami Art Museum
6.Pierre Chareau, "Hall", Intérieurs français, 1925|Toyota Municipal Museum of Art
7.Margarete Heymann-Loebenstein-Marks, Tea Set, ca.1930|Utsunomiya Museum of Art
8.André Groult, painting:Marie Laurencin, making:Adolphe Chaneaux, Chair, 1924|Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
9.Édouard Bénédictus, Relais, 1930|Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
10.Jean Dunand, Compact, Cigarette Cases, Buckle, ca.1925|The Kyoto Costume Institute, photo by Takashi Hatakeyama
11.Lili Schulz, Tea Caddy, ca.1928|Utsunomiya Museum of Art
12.Marcel Breuer, Club Chair B3(Wassily), 1925|Toyota Municipal Museum of Art
13. Gunta Stölzl, Design for Textile: Carpet, ca.1929|MISAWA HOME CO., LTD. © VG BILD-KUNST, Bonn & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2022 B0612
14. Kazo Saito, Decoration Window "Room for Contemplation," 1927