The Shiseido Gallery was founded in 1919 by Shiseido's first president, Shinzo Fukuhara. It has operated more or less continuously for ninety years, closing only occasionally due to earthquakes, war, and other vicissitudes. Throughout this time it has been dedicated to Shiseido's founding corporate ideal of "discovering and creating new value."
The Shiseido Gallery opened with an exhibition of the works of painter Riichiro Kawashima, and since that time has expanded to embrace exhibitions of aesthetic expression from a variety of fields including fine art, photography, design, crafts, archtecture, and others. It has also always taken a special interest in exhibitions that highlight not only women artists, but also the various aspects of female culture that have always colored the times through fashion, makeup, personal accoutrements, and the activities of women in general.
As early as 1920 the Shiseido Gallery sponsored two programs, "Fans & Paper Strips for Poetry," led by a group of women poets, and "Display of Bags Designed by Celebrated Japanese Ladies", and by the mid-1920s it was hosting exhibitions of the works of cutting-edge women artists like painters Yoshie Nakata, Marjorie Nishiwaki and Setsuko Migishi, textile artist Michiko Yamawaki, and dyer Fukumi Shimura.
The activities of women artists truly came into prominence on the world art scene in the 1990s, just around the time that the Shiseido Gallery shifted its focus to contemporary art. The current exhibition features one new or latest work each from eleven of the women artists the Shiseido Gallery has introduced since the 1990s, offering glimpses of past exhibitions and introducing artists who are currently at the core of the art scene.