Paintings by Minol Araki: Nature in Ink

23 July - 9 September 2020
  • Thomsen Gallery is pleased to present our second online viewing room, dedicated to paintings by Minol Araki (1928-2010), whose works...

    Thomsen Gallery is pleased to present our second online viewing room, dedicated to paintings by Minol Araki (1928-2010), whose works we exhibited in our New York gallery in 2012 and 2015.

     

    Minol Araki: Nature in Ink presents mature paintings by an artist who was devoted to creating art for its own sake.  Araki, by profession an industrial designer, rarely exhibited during his lifetime and was an unusual twentieth-century adherent to the Chinese and Japanese literati tradition which regarded artists as intellectuals. The exhibition presents 25 paintings of elements of nature, showing Araki’s masterful use of ink and his influences from China, Japan and the West.

     

    Araki's works are in the permanent collections of 19 museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

    • Minol Araki, Lotus, 1977
      Minol Araki, Lotus, 1977
    • Minol Araki, Lotus Pond, 1997
      Minol Araki, Lotus Pond, 1997
    • Minol Araki, Lotus, 2001
      Minol Araki, Lotus, 2001
    • Minol Araki, Lotus, 2000
      Minol Araki, Lotus, 2000
    • Minol Araki, Bamboo, 1977
      Minol Araki, Bamboo, 1977
    • Minol Araki, Three Fishes, 1977
      Minol Araki, Three Fishes, 1977
    • Minol Araki, Three Fishes, 1978
      Minol Araki, Three Fishes, 1978
    • Minol Araki, Crabs, 1976
      Minol Araki, Crabs, 1976
    • Minol Araki, Angry Fish, 1977
      Minol Araki, Angry Fish, 1977
    • Minol Araki, Fish and Coral, 1976
      Minol Araki, Fish and Coral, 1976
    • Minol Araki, Bamboo, 1977
      Minol Araki, Bamboo, 1977
    • Minol Araki, Bamboo and Rock, 1977
      Minol Araki, Bamboo and Rock, 1977
    • Minol Araki, Chinese Cabbage, 1978
      Minol Araki, Chinese Cabbage, 1978
    • Minol Araki, Chinese Cabbages and Mushrooms, 1978
      Minol Araki, Chinese Cabbages and Mushrooms, 1978
    • Minol Araki, Chinese Cabbages, 1979
      Minol Araki, Chinese Cabbages, 1979
    • Minol Araki, Table with Flower Vase, Platter of Cherries, and Lemons, 1977
      Minol Araki, Table with Flower Vase, Platter of Cherries, and Lemons, 1977
    • Minol Araki, Pumpkin, 2002
      Minol Araki, Pumpkin, 2002
    • Minol Araki, Flowering Plum Branch, 1977
      Minol Araki, Flowering Plum Branch, 1977
    • Minol Araki, Green Planter with White Flowers, 1989
      Minol Araki, Green Planter with White Flowers, 1989
    • Minol Araki, Desk with Flowers, 1977
      Minol Araki, Desk with Flowers, 1977
    • Minol Araki, Eggplants on Platter, 1978
      Minol Araki, Eggplants on Platter, 1978
    • Minol Araki, Peppers and Mushrooms, 1978
      Minol Araki, Peppers and Mushrooms, 1978
    • Minol Araki, Tossed Mushrooms, 2001
      Minol Araki, Tossed Mushrooms, 2001
    • Minol Araki, Tea Bowl and Platter with Fruit, 1978
      Minol Araki, Tea Bowl and Platter with Fruit, 1978
    • Minol Araki, Landscape, 2006
      Minol Araki, Landscape, 2006
  • Minol Araki (1928-2010)

    Thomsen Gallery is proud to represent the estate of Minol (Minoru) Araki (1928-2010), an individual who spanned Chinese, Japanese and American culture and combined a contemporary professional calling with a private passion for painting. Araki was committed to the wenren ("literati") artistic tradition, both in its original Chinese guise and as reinvigorated by Japanese painters. One facet of this tradition is indifference to commercial gain through artistic production-an indifference that was sincerely felt by Araki, whose financial success enabled him to pursue brush painting solely as an essential aspect of a refined, fruitful, and complete life.

     

    Born into a Japanese artistic family in northeastern China, Araki began studying painting at the age of seven. Influenced by the writings of legendary American designer Raymond Loewy, he chose to pursue a career in industry but continued to paint in his spare time even as his work as a designer of consumer electronics took him frequently to Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as to the United States. A key turning point in his artistic formation was a meeting in 1973-when he was already in his forties-with Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), charismatic itinerant master painter, master forger, and one of the most influential figures in the twentieth-century pictorial art of East Asia. Araki became friendly with the elderly genius and with Zhang's encouragement intensified his efforts to carve out a distinctive individual style expressed in dynamic splashed-ink technique, occasionally enhanced by the addition of color, sometimes sparing, sometimes lavish and striking.

     

    Araki remained committed to the literati tradition and prized individual expression above all else, seeking always to capture the rhythms of nature in his art. His mature work achieves a fusion of elements from diverse historical periods and cultures: the intimate album painting of China's Song dynasty (960-1279); lively, eye-teasing twentieth-century French still lifes; American artists, especially Ben Shahn (1898-1969); and, above all, the scholar-amateur manner in Chinese and Japanese painting. His atmospheric landscapes and plant paintings, never for sale during his lifetime, were widely exhibited in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States and have recently been acquired by several leading American museums.

     

     

    Artist Biography

    1928   Born in Dairen, Manchuria, China, to Japanese parents

    1935   Began studying brush painting with a local Chinese painter

    1945   Studied architecture at Nanman Kōsen (Southern Manchuria Technical College) in Dairen

    1945   Repatriated with his family to Japan, settling in Nagasaki

    1947   Resumed studies at Kuwazawa Design School, Tokyo

    1959   Started his first company, NOL Industrial Design, in Japan

    1960s Extensive travel to Europe, the United States, and Mexico

    1960s Started his second company, PIPa Corp., in the United States

    1973   First meeting with Chang Dai-chien in Taipei

    1977   Solo exhibition, Hong Kong City Hall Museum

    1978   Solo exhibition, National Museum of History, Taipei

    1980   Solo exhibition, National Museum of History, Taipei

    1981   Solo exhibition, Hong Kong City Hall Museum

    1982   Group exhibition: "Shigen-ten," Tokyo Central Museum

    1982   Group exhibition: Eighth "Exposition France-Japon," Paris

    1983   Group exhibition: Ninth "Exposition France-Japon," Paris

    1999   Solo exhibition, National Museum of History, Taipei

    1999   Solo exhibition, Hong Kong Arts Centre

    1999   Solo exhibition, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ

    2001   Group exhibition, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, CA

    2002   Solo exhibition, Morikami Museum, Delray Beach, FL

    2002   Solo exhibition, Indianapolis Art Museum, Indianapolis, IN

    2002   Solo exhibition, Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture, Hanford, CA

    2005   First gallery exhibition, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

    2007   Second gallery exhibition, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

    2010   Died in Tokyo

    2012   Solo exhibition, Erik Thomsen Gallery, New York

    2015   Solo exhibition, Erik Thomsen Gallery, New York

    2017   Retrospective exhibition, Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN

    2020   Solo online exhibition, Thomsen Gallery, New York

     

    Public Collections Include

    Art Institute of Chicago

    Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

    Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture, Hanford CA

    Cleveland Art Museum

    Denver Art Museum

    Hong Kong Museum of Art

    Indianapolis Museum of Art

    Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

    Minneapolis Institute of Arts

    Morikami Museum, Delray Beach FL

    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

    National Museum of History, Taipei

    Philadelphia Museum of Art

    Phoenix Art Museum

    Saint Louis Art Museum

    San Antonio Art Museum

    USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena CA

    Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

    Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven CT