Toshimitsu Imai achieved high acclaim as an artist who strove to break new boundaries as a painter. He was born in Kyoto in 1928 and went to school in Tokyo. He was awarded prizes as an artist from the early 1950s, exhibiting in the 15th Salon of Shinseisaku, winning a prize for best young artist. In search of the new, in 1952 he left for Paris where he studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, followed by Paris University. Almost immediately he became part of the dynamic international art scene in Paris, holding his first one-man exhibition in Paris at Galerie 25 in 1953 and in 1955 met Michel Tapié, who during the 1950s was the advisor to Rodolphe Stadler, owner of the leading avant-garde gallery which promoted Art Informel. From this point on Imai turned increasingly towards abstraction and along with his contemporary and fellow-Paris resident Hisao Domoto became contract artists of Galerie Stadler, and would both become recognised as Art Informel artists.