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Kumi Sugai

"There was a very sensitive similarity between the numerous Japanese artists that came to France at the beginning of the 50’s."


Notes of biography

Kumi Sugai was born in Kobe, Japan in 1919. He was very active in France from the beginning of the 50’s.
A student of the Fine Arts School of Osaka, he was trained in western pictorial techniques and in traditional Japanese calligraphy. Like other Japanese artists of this period, he moves to France in 1952. His work becomes noticed and in the years that follow he participates in different Salons that take place in Paris as well abroad, such as at the Carnegie Foundation in Pittsburg, San Paulo, etc.
His first solo exhibition is organized in Paris in 1954. This event, like the year 1954, is for him, the beginning of numerous exhibitions that are held around the world in the next 10 years that follow. The style of Sugai evolves. If, on his arrival in France, his technique is close to graffiti with practically no color, then from 1953, he uses more color and little by little abstract graphic signs appear.
Human-insects and strange animals are still present in his works. They will disappear from 1958, when Sugai decides to renounce them. His work is compared to that of Gerard Schneider. His large emblematic compositions fade into his new writing.
In 1960, the art of Sugai changes in a brutal fashion, adopting the possibilities of geometric abstraction. The organization of traced forms and colorful flat tints are now put first.
Sugai died in 1996.

Artists on display

The art and the artists display: proclamations, galleries, museums, personal or collective exhibitions. On walls or in shop windows, wise or rebels, posters warn, argue, show. Some were specially conceived by an artist for such or such event, other, colder, have only the letter.

Some were created in lithographic technic, most are simple offset reproductions. They are many those who like collecting these rectangles of paper, monochrome or in games of colours, in matt paper or brilliant, with many words or almost dumb.

We are happy also to be able to greet, by this pages, mythical galleries as those of Denise René, Louis Carré, Claude Bernard, Berheim Jeune, Maeght, Pierre Loeb and others.


Complete work(s)

Complete work(s)
All the complete works

Bibliographic track and more

To read about the artist :
  • « Sugai », Michel Ragon, in revue Cimaise 4ème série n°1, sept-oct. 1956
  • « Sugai », J. Lassaigne, Galerie Creuzevault, Paris, 1958
  • « Sugai », A.P. de Mandiargues, Musée de Poche, Paris, 1960
  • « K. Sugai », cat., Städtisches Museum Leverkusen, 1960
  • « K. Sugai », G. Boudaille, Ed. Court Gallery & American Art Gallery, Copenhagen, 1965
  • « Neue Bilder von Kumi Sugai », cat., Ed. Galerie Dieter Brusberg, Hanovre, 1967
  • « K. S. - Lo zodiaco », A. Pieyre de Mandiargues, Ed. Centro Arte Annunciata, Milan, 1974
  • « Sugai », Jean-Clarence Lambert, Ed. Cercle d'Art, Paris, 1990
  • « Kumi Sugai », Jean-Luc Chalumeau, Ed. Cercle d'Art, 1995
  • « Kumi Sugai », Jean-Clarence Lambert, Makoto Ooka, Fall Ed., 1999
To read from the artist :
  • « Kumi Sugai », Ed. Nouvelles images n°21, dec. 1971
  • « Kumi Sugai », cat. d'expos, Ohtsu-Ohara-Tokyo, Ed. The Seibu Mus. of art, Tokyo, 1983
Website :
No website dedicated to the artist.

More :

Art movements

+ SCHOOL OF PARIS / 1945-1960 / Jean Degottex, Georges Mathieu, Nicolas de Staël, etc.
+ NEW REALITIES / 1946-1956 / Etienne Béothy, Marcelle Cahn, etc.
All art movements

See & discover

Beyond works currently in stock, it seemed to me useful to combine business with pleasure by letting you discover others works by artists in my gallery. These artworks, now sold or removed from our website, have been in our stock in the past.

These pages will undoubtedly make it possible for some of you to associate an image with its title or the other way round, for others it will be a good time to discover more on such and such artist. For the sake of confidentiality – the pieces being no longer available – we won't display neither their numbering or their price. For whatever reason, make sure to visit this amazing art database with to date 6441 online works just for your pleasure! Michelle Champetier

See & discover