TOP PAGE

Biography

菅井汲 Kumi
Sugai
Kumi
Sugai

Akatsuki | 油彩、キャンバス
H195 x W129.8 cm
菅井汲
Profile
  • 1919 兵庫県神戸市に生まれる
  • 1952 渡仏
  • 1960 第2回東京国際版画ビエンナーレ展(東京国立近代美術館)出品 国立近代美術館賞受賞
  • 1969 17年ぶりに日本に帰国
  • 1996 心不全により77歳で死去

About
the Artist
About
the Artist

Born in 1919 in Kobe, Japan, Kumi Sugai’s abstract paintings recount an ancient time when calligraphy and magic were entwined, inseparable and nearly insurmountable in their power and potency, their vivaciousness juxtaposed with the visceral urgency of now. His early paintings have an immediate and elegantly elegiac vibrancy, conjuring primordial narratives of life, death, love, loss, victory, tragedy and transcendence, and can be seen as gateways to the world of creation within the mind’s eye of this magician-scribe-painter. One of the great abstract expressionists of postwar Japan who preceded the Gutai School artists on their path to Paris, Sugai was an iconoclast and an inspiration for his fellow compatriots of the era.

Since leaving for Paris in 1952, Sugai’s career soon garnered critical acclaim. Befriending Giacometti and fellow Japanese painter Hisao Domoto, among many others, Sugai's early solo shows in Paris and Brussels quickly cemented his reputation as a pioneer that, in hindsight, foreshadowed the dawn of both Informel and the Gutai.
Winning a flurry of awards since his Paris debut, the artist would establish himself as one of Japan’s leading abstract painters, and reached the zenith of his popularity in the mid-1960’s. However, Sugai is typically associated today with his later-period lithographs and geometric paintings featuring bright primary colours, which are far more in number than the sublime works he had produced during his Paris era. In essence, it is the body of rare and precious abstract oils that Sugai painted in the 1950’s to 1960’s that remain most appreciated by museums and collectors alike, and which do not often come on the open market due to their scarcity. With the skyrocketing hunger for works by the Gutai School and other post-war Abstract painters from Japan, the demand and value of Sugai's Paris period works have also increased tenfold, most recently with the record hammer prices seen at the November 2015 auction at Phillips in London.

WorksWorks