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TOSHIMITSU IMAI (Japanese, 1928-2002)



signed 'Toshimitsu Imai 79' (lower right)

oil on paper

67.5 × 103 cm. (26 5/8 x 40 ½ in.)
Painted in 1979

Private collection, Asia

Brought to you by

Joyce Chan
Joyce Chan

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Lot Essay

On Toshimitsu Imai's canvas, he abandoned the figurative and migrated towards the pure abstract, and his mode of expression and automatic technique converged as he added sand grit to thick paint layers. These materials coalesce together into a powerful force that transcends mere reliance on one medium and produce stunning sublimity. Toshimitsu Imai formed an association with Informel art proponent Michel Tapié, because Imai had staged an exhibition in 1953- 19 54 at the Salon d’art Sacré, Paris. Via an introduction by American artist Sam Francis, Imai and Tapié maintained a close friendship, and Imai became even more of the figurehead Japanese artist in this movement. Faced with a wave of Western abstract art in vogue, Toshimitsu Imai and a group of asian artists had to think about the issue of how to find a way out of and break through their own cultures. Traces of traditional Japanese art are evident in Toshimitsu Imai's painting, such as a sense of the unique reverence of oriental culture for natural spirits.

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