A native of Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture, Sugai Kumi studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Osaka. In 1952 he made Paris his permanent home. Sugai's paintings were exhibited and received positive acclaim early in the 1950s and his extensive record of one-man and group exhibitions in Europe and in America continued until his death last spring. He is represented in private, corporate, and museum collections internationally.
Sugai's gestural paintings of the 1950s foretell the more geometric and hard-edge abstractions of his later career. Working toward increased simplification, the early pictures are engagingly personal and introduce the forms that Sugai used and refined throughout his career.