Tatsuoki Nambata started to paint in the late 1920s after meeting the older artist Kotaro Takamura (1883-1956), who became his master. Interested in literature and philosophy, the young Nambata was inspired by the art of ancient Greece and created paintings incorporating motifs from this country and period. The Second World War brought great upheaval in Japan, however an end to war in 1945 brought peace and an artistic regeneration. At that time Nambata was struck by the rapid post-war re-building of Tokyo stating “The inorganic beauty of iron beams and iron reinforcing rods sprouting to pierce the sky in the Tokyo of the postwar reconstruction period struck me as something very novel, and their straight lines moved me toward a new direction in my art.”1
He went on to absorb influences from Art Informel and abstract expressionism, creating his own unique and lyrical style. Étude, 1961, presented here - clearly demonstrates his approach to abstract painting. His method involved first drawing lines on canvas in charcoal, over which he applied and re-applied paint in multiple layers, sometimes working with the original lines and drawing them into the final layer, and sometimes not.
Tatsuoki Nambata’s work has entered many museum collections, including The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto.
1. Nambata Tatsuoki-ten (Today’s Artists: An Exhibition of Tatsuoki Nambata), exhibition catalogue, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, (Tokyo, 1987), p. 121