takao tanabe


Despite the hardships, racism, and degradation of detention in an internment camp during WWII, Takao Tanabe (b. 1926) would rise to become one of Canada's most accomplished artists of the 20th century.

At the end of the war, Tanabe began his formal education at Winnipeg School of Art, with the intention of becoming a sign painter. By the early 1950's a combination of luck, ambition, and talent brought him to New York City to study with Reuben Tam and Hans Hoffmann, where he absorbed the emerging aesthetic trends of abstract expressionism.

In 1953 Tanabe won an Emily Carr Scholarship which enabled him to spend over two years travelling and studying in Europe. (Take a look at one of his works from his grand tour here)

Basing himself in London at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, Tanabe explored the continent, gained a strong knowledge of art history, and developed his own style.

‚ÄúLow Tide‚ÄĚ is reminiscent of Tanabe‚Äôs "White Paintings‚ÄĚ, a series begun during his time in London. Characteristic of this series, ‚ÄúLow Tide‚ÄĚ utilizes shades of white and cream, in which figurative shapes possibly emerge from abstract forms.

In the artist’s later works of this period color is added judiciously, and his unique nature-inspired lyrical abstraction emerges.

Click here to see another white painting owned by the National Gallery of Canada.

Another interesting feature of this work is the medium. Casein, which is derived from milk protein, is an ancient material and an alternative to gouache or watercolor. Artists have used it particularly with murals as it dries to an even consistency. 

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720

Signed and dated by the artist

Casein on paper

21"W 15"H (artwork)

29.5"W 22.5"H (framed)

Very good condition. 

Detailed condition report by request  


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