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VJP title
Utamaro print showing


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AMANO Kazumi (尼野和三)


Amano Kazumi (尼野和三) was born in Takaoka City, Tôyama Prefecture. He graduated from the Takaoka High School of Industrial Art in 1945, specializing in furniture design. In 1950, Amano studied briefly under Munakata Shikô. By 1953, he was exhibiting at the Nihon Hanga Kyôkai (Japan Print Association), and then moved to Tokyo in 1955. In 1968, Amano relocated to the United States, first working as a teacher at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois and Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa. In 1971, he moved his family to New York City, where he worked for 30 years.

Amano Kazumi: "From Gauge — Return," 1969
Woodcut; image 796 x 452 mm; paper 878 x 512 mm

Amano's early work showed Munakata's influence, but his later prints were very different, characterized by elegant, precision-cut abstractions featuring forms (sometimes embossed) balanced against empty space. His compositions are filled with shapes hinting at industrial or furniture design. Amano spoke in abstractions about his art, and is reported to have said that he was interested in "dynamic opposition and disorder," or the "constant metamorphosis" from "natural evolution."

Amano won prizes at international print biennales in Lugano (1964), Tokyo (1966), and Krakow (1968). His works are represented in the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; the Toyama Modern Art Museum, Japan; the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Cincinnati Art Museum; the New York Public Library; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Miami Museum; the Seattle Art Museum; the Stockholm National Museum; the Elvehjem Museum of Art, Madison, WI; and the Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco.

The composition shown above is titled "From Gauge — Return" in English and in Japanese [not entirely legible]. It is dated '69 and is an artist's proof ("A.P."). The image size is 796 x 452 mm on paper measuring 878 x 512 mm. The interlocking, repeating forms and interplay of colors and textures are characteristic of Amano's oeuvre during the 1960s-70s. The gray triangular shape at the bottom adds a sense of receding depth, while the unprinted upper-middle area stands in opposition to the chromatic strength of the design. © 2020 by John Fiorillo


  • Blakemore, Frances: Who's Who in Modern Japanese Prints. New York and Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1975, pp. 153-155.
  • Lawrence Smith: Modern Japanese Prints 1912-1989. London: British Museum Press, 1994, p. 21 and cat. 126.
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