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A SET OF TWO GEOMETRIC COMPOSITIONS BY KUMI SUGAI

A SET OF TWO GEOMETRIC COMPOSITIONS BY KUMI SUGAI

3,750.00

France - Paris, circa 1970

Two screenprints in color, both signed in pencil, one numbered 131/150. Presented in quality new black stained ash frames.

Dimensions: H 82 cm x W 63 cm x D 3 cm

About the artist: Painter and print-maker: born Kobe, Japan 13 March 1919, died Kobe 14 May 1996. Kumi Sugai belonged to the first group of pioneering contemporary Japanese artists to adopt western styles of painting, and to practise them abroad, chiefly in Paris or New York.

He studied art at the Osaka School of Fine Arts, where he became acquainted with western painting techniques through the teaching of Yoshihara Haruyoshi. At the same time he practised calligraphy and was fascinated by typography, both of which were to play an important part of his later work.

Sugai left for Paris in 1952, where he found Abstract Impressionism, Pop and Op to Antiart, Kinetic Art to Minimalism. He began by adapting traditional ukiyoe woodblock techniques to his vision of a foreign culture. The forms were contemporary, but the colors had the simplicity and radiant purity of Classic masters of the art that enraptured Van Gogh and the Post Impressionists. He also experimented with silk-screen printing and lithography. His first Paris production used graffiti with an unfailing sense of subtle coloring, evoking city scenes, men and animals at the limits of abstraction, with a certain minimalism of snaps suggested by his friend Giacometti.

His work was immediately noticed by prominent art critics and gallery owners, including the writer Charles Estienne, who arranged for him to exhibit at the Salon d'Octobre in 1953. Sugai's career then took off, with one-man shows in Paris and at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1954, and a first exhibition of his gouaches at the St George's Gallery in London in 1955, during which he received an invitation to exhibit at the Pittsburgh International. By 1958, he had enough work for an impressive retrospective that established his reputation.

He went on to participate in all the important group exhibitions, notably at Sao Paulo Biennale, where he won the Best Foreign Artist Prize, at the Kassel Dokumenta and the Venice Biennale. He had many one-man shows in New York, Ljubljiana (where he won Print First Prize in 1961) and at the Tokyo Biennale in the same year. In 1962, under the influence of Giacometti, he transformed some of his subjects into minimal sculptures, and illustrated two books of poetry by the art critic Jean-Clarence Lambert, who wrote extensively about him, as did other essayists like Michel Ragom, Hubert Juin and Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues. He received extensive coverage in Thomas Messer's Modern Art (Guggenheim Foundation, 1962).

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