Nestled in an alley in a residential area of New Taipei City’s Younghe District in northern Taiwan is the Yang San Lang Art Museum (楊三郎美術館). Known as one of the best private and family-owned museums in Taiwan, the museum is dedicated to renowned Taiwanese artist Yang San Lang (1907-1995).
Behind a wall decorated with embossed sculptures depicting Yang San Lang’s life, the museum is a six-story building connected to a Japanese-style house where the artist was born and his atelier was located. Covering an area of 10,000 square feet (929 square meters), the museum has five galleries located on the first five floors of the building, and also has two cozy gardens with a dense growth of evergreen trees and bushes.
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Please watch the following video of the Yang San Lang Art Museum.
One of the striking features of the garden in front of the museum is a small pond near the entrance. It was built in the shape of Taiwan Island by Yang San Lang’s father Yang Chung-chuo (楊仲佐) in 1895 to show his love for Taiwan. Around this exquisite pond, there are also some intriguing stones and beautiful flowers that make the pond more romantic.
In fact, the premises was dubbed as the “Wangxi Villa (網溪別墅),” and was one of the “Eight Views of Zhonghe (中和八景)” in the past. Wangxi Villa was also a location that many local aristocrats and scholars haunted for leisurely gatherings when Yang Chung-chuo was alive. This site has been designated by the New Taipei City Government as a historical site.
Art museum featuring Yang San Lang’s art
Yang San Lang is a legendary 20th-century Taiwanese artist who sailed to Japan to learn painting without his parents’ consent at the age of 16. In Japan, he first studied at the Kyoto School of Arts and Crafts, and then transferred to the Western Painting Division of the Kansai Arts Institute, where he specialized in oil painting. In 1932, he went to France for further studies and traveled around Europe to practice en plein air painting — painting outdoors rather than in a studio — and assimilate the techniques of famous masters.
Additionally, Yang San Lang was also active in promoting art associations and painting exhibitions to introduce Western art to Taiwan starting in 1927. Among the art associations he co-founded, the iconic Taiyang Fine Art Association (台陽美術協會) has played a significant role in art education and art development in Taiwan. As a result, Yang is referred to as a pioneer introducing European and Western art culture to Taiwan.
Yang San Lang created over 5,000 masterpieces throughout his life, and among them are plein air landscape paintings he created in Taiwan, Japan, China, the United States, and Europe. About 100 of them are displayed in the museum’s five galleries respectively. As to the Japanese and Taiwanese antiques collected by the artist, they are exhibited at his living area in the Japanese-style house.
Besides the two exquisitely decorated glass rooms, the two lovely gardens surrounding the historical site provide an intriguing outdoor dining space with some tables under leafy trees and beautiful flowers. It is romantic to savor a tasty light meal, coffee, or some of the homemade snacks and drinks served by the cafe at the museum.
It’s indeed worthwhile to pay a visit to the Yang San Lang Art Museum in that not only is it a great place to appreciate the artist’s awesome creations, but it is also a haven of beauty and peace away from the hustle and bustle of city life.