takao tanabe


Despite the hardships, racism, and degradation of having been detained in an internment camp during WWII, Takao Tanabe (b. 1926) would rise to become one of Canada's most accomplished and dynamic 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. 

One of the many interesting features of Tanabe's oeuvre is his willingness to experiment with different modes of painting. In the late 1950's and well into the 1960's, he was clearly a disciple of Hoffmann's legendary "push and pull" approach to abstraction. Remarkably, in the mid 1960's Tanabe fully embraces hard-edge abstraction.

Tanabe's paintings from this period are notable for their fascinating mix of colors, juxtaposing saturated heavy colors with pastels or even neon shades. 

"Oozoh Park" is a fine example of Tanabe's hard-edge period. During the 60's it was exhibited across Canada including exhibitions in Ottawa and Montreal. 

Tanabe's work can be found in numerous important collections across Canada and beyond including: the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Glenbow Museum (Calgary), the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa) and the Tate Museum, U.K

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720

Additional images available on request. 

Initialed and dated by the artist

Acrylic on canvas

Canada, 1964

27"H 25"W

Very good condition.



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