Tomie Ohtake

  • Born: November 21, 1913
  • Died: February 12, 2015
  • Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil

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Japanese-Brazilian artist dies at age 101

The Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Tomie Ohtake, the celebrated Japanese-Brazilian artist known for her bold, primary colored abstract paintings and gravity-defying monumental sculptures, has died, the institute bearing her name said. She was 101.

In a statement, the Tomie Ohtake Institute said the artist died Thursday at a Sao Paulo hospital from septic shock brought on by pneumonia.

Renowned for her oversized paintings and airy, cleverly balanced sculptures, Ohtake was considered among Brazil's most important contemporary artists.

A statement of condolence from Rio de Janeiro state's culture secretary said "we have lost one of the most meaningful names in abstractionism in the country and in the world.

"Tomie was an artist who beautifully brought together cultures, colors and geometry, mixing the red of Japan with the yellow of her adopted country," said the statement.

Born in Kyoto in 1913, Ohtake came to Brazil in 1936 to visit a relative. In the uncertainty that preceded World War II, she decided to stay on in Sao Paulo, marrying and having two children.

In her late 30s, her children largely grown, Ohtake began to paint. After an early career focusing on figurative subjects, she found fame with abstract paintings in an eye-popping palette. Her large-scale sculptures of curves and curlicues also became fixtures of the cityscape in Sao Paulo and other Brazilian cities.

Her most emblematic work includes a series of mosaic murals in shades of her hallmark colors, red, yellow and green, that adorn the Consolacao stop of Sao Paulo's metro. Another famous work, wave-shaped sculptures that resembles a row of oversized ribbons, sits in a median dividing a major Sao Paulo thoroughfare.

Ohtake worked till the end of her life, going to her studio three times a week until well after her centenary.

A wake will be held in Sao Paulo on Friday, the statement said.


Condolence & Memory Journal

Tomie Ohtake's art is very abstract and unique. Being artists, we grow to understand that art is not limited to one style. Art is a personification of your emotions. It takes an artist to truly know an artist. Even though we've just recently discovered Tomie, we've been mesmerized by her sense of art. We'd like to leave a word of comfort with Tomie's family and friends. (John 5:25)

Posted by Malcolm & Solomon - GA   April 18, 2015

Our prayers are calling out the individual names of all those who have come to know and love Tomie. Though we have all been touched by death in some form, we are never used to it or fully prepared when it actually happens. During this time we are deeply grieved. Yet there is hope. Our heavenly Father had made two key promises that will come true in the near future. First, Jehovah's words recorded at Rev 21:4 states that"death will be no more. Neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away." Yes God will do away with death once and for all time. Second, He has given all authority to His son to bring back pure loved ones who are sleeping in death as recorded at John 5:28,29. So be grieved yet not too overwhelmed. Your Heavenly Father hears you and your cries will not go unanswered.

Posted by Kane Ali - Atlanta, GA - Friend   February 14, 2015


Family Album

A sculpture by Japanese artist Tomie Ohtake honoring the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Brazil's first Japanese immigrants, is seen in Santos, Brazil, Saturday, June 21, 2008. Nearly 800 Japanese peasants landed in Santos aboard the steamship Kasato Maru on June 18, 1908, spurring a wave of immigration that has grown to 1.5 million people, the largest Japanese community outside Japan. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)