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(1922 – 2011), Japan

Sadamasa Motonaga Biography

Sadamasa Motonaga (Japanese, 1922–2011) was an abstract painter, and one of the leading members of the Gutai group. Under the guidance of Jiro Yoshihara, Motonaga decided to pursue a career in painting rather than his original desire of becoming a cartoonist. However, the sense of humor that pervaded his earlier works remained an important element in his paintings throughout his career. He was known for balancing cheerful, funny, comical, friendly, easy-to-understand, and inviting elements with sophisticated, elegant, and poetic designs.

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Motonaga also experimented with various styles of expression, such as bold abstraction, using drips, as well as traditional Japanese painting techniques. He also utilized industrial materials. He later created more defined spaces with straight and curved lines—based on ideas he generated during his two-year stay in New York. Also during this time, Motonaga began to expand into printmaking, stage design, and children’s books.

Motonaga participated in international exhibitions in Italy, New York, France, and Spain, among other places, winning awards such as the LĂ©gion d’honneur from the French government. He also received the Purple Ribbon Award, issued in the name of the sitting emperor of Japan; Motonaga was the first abstract artist to be given this award. His works are in the collections of every major Japanese museum, as well as in other institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Sadamasa Motonaga Featured Artworks

Untitled by Sadamasa Motonaga contemporary artwork
Sadamasa MotonagaUntitledSynthetic resin paint on canvas with wood panel
MAKI Contact Gallery
White and Yellow in the Bulges by Sadamasa Motonaga contemporary artwork
Sadamasa MotonagaWhite and Yellow in the Bulges, 1988Acrylic on canvas
33.3 x 24.3 cm
Asia Art Center Contact Gallery
Work 145 by Sadamasa Motonaga contemporary artwork
Sadamasa MotonagaWork 145, 1964Oil and synthetic resic on canvas mounted on board
136.3 x 274.4 cm
Hauser & Wirth Contact Gallery

Sadamasa Motonaga Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Gutai at Hauser & Wirth, New York
1 November–22 December 2018 Group Exhibition Gutai Hauser & Wirth, 69th St, New York69th Street, New York

Sadamasa Motonaga Represented By

Asia Art Center contemporary art gallery in Taipei, Taiwan Asia Art Center Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai
Whitestone Gallery contemporary art gallery in Taipei, Taiwan Whitestone Gallery Taipei, Hong Kong

Sadamasa Motonaga In Related Press

Japanese Gutai in the 1950s: Fast and Fearless Related Press Japanese Gutai in the 1950s: Fast and Fearless 14 June 2018, The New York Times

In the 1950s, the artists of the newly formed Gutai group of Japan worked fast and fearlessly, changing styles and mediums at will, staying abreast of the latest postwar developments abroad. The mood of this band of innovators was eclectic — and electric — as demonstrated by "Gutai: 1953-1959," an ambitious show at Fergus...

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