Yasse Tabuchi

Yasse Tabuchi

1921 - 2009, Japan

Painter, Graphic Artist


Yasse Tabuchi first becomes acquainted with the techniques of oil painting in primary school. Here, he is also introduced to methods of copper engraving. During World War II, at only 17 years of age, he is called for military service in the Japanese army. In 1948, he returns to the University of Tokyo and completes his studies in Art History with a dissertation about French Colourism from Delacroix to Bonnard. He experiences a world of inspiration in non-fiction books, particularly in those concerning The Impressionists and Pre-Raphaelites. Tabuchi continuously searches for a more dualistic access to art, which is both technical and intellectual.

In 1951, Tabuchi travels to Paris, in order to study at the Sorbonne. In 1953 he makes his artistic debut at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles showing four oil works on canvas. He soon builds up a reputation in the Post-War art world with his abstract works in vivid colours. During this time, he socialises with many other Japanese artists, as well as some of the members of the CoBrA group.

Tabuchi soon shifts from the figurative style of his earlier Parisian works to an increasing level of abstraction. Influenced by Surrealist painting, his works are characterised by organic symbols, reflecting his ideas about the universe. From 1955, he begins to experiment with colours and his palette becomes darker concurrently with the difficulties he experiences.

Les Jardins des Semiramis (1997)
Oil and gold leaf on canvas, 195x227 cm.

In 1958, Tabuchi is invited to take part in an exhibition about Japanese abstract paintings, arranged by the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. In the beginning of the 1960s, he goes on a world tour to India and Japan, where he becomes fascinated by the glimmering golden shades of the Orient, especially prevalent in sacred temples. Tabuchi’s fascination with the colour gold becomes an important element in his later works, and is used as a symbol of universal divinity. The figuration is divided in different sections, inspired by Japanese painted screens.

In 1977, Tabuchi is offered a solo exhibition at Galerie Ariel in Paris. Other solo exhibitions follow, arranged by Kitakyushu City Municipal Museum of Art (1982) and O Art Museum in Tokyo. At this time, Tabuchi primarily exhibits in France, Denmark, Belgium and Japan, where his new style comes to light, consisting of organic curved shapes, pleasant colours and flower-like motifs. The expressionistic and abstract style of his earlier work is gradually replaced by a more ornamental style.

In 1985, Tabuchi receives an award by the French government, Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, for his contribution to and enrichment of French cultural heritage.

Yasse Tabuchi dies at the age of 88 in France in 2009. Since then, a lot of his works have been donated to the Kamakura Museum in Japan, as well as to a number of other mportant collections around the world.


Palais des Beaux-Arts, Belgium
Galerie Birch 1961 1964 1968 1976 1985 2006
São Paulo Biennalen 1961
Galleria del Naviglio, Italy
Musée de Leverkusen, Germany
Carnegie Institute
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris


Museum Jorn