Tetsuro KOMAI

Born 1920 in Tokyo, Japan. Begun to learn a Copperplate printing from Takeo NISHIDA in 1935. He graduated the Tokyo Art School in 1942. After the World War II he exhibited works as a member of the Nihon Hanga Kyokai (Japanese Print Society) and Shunyokai artists’ association and also contributed prints to a variety of exhibitions. In 1951 he received an award in the first São Paulo Biennale for a representative work of his early period, Momentary Illusion, the same exhibition where Saitô Kiyoshi received an award (and had his breakthrough as an artist) with Steady Gaze.

In the following year he was also given an award at the Lugano International Print Biennial. In 1953 he had his first solo exhibition at Shiseido Gallery. From 1954 to 1955 he studied in Paris. The opening exhibition of the Minami Gallery in 1956 was the Tesuro KOMAI Exhibition. From 1972 to 1976, he lectured at the Tokyo University of the Arts. Komai played a significant role in the promotion of Copperplate printing as an art form in the post-war Japan. He died in 1976 at the age of 56.


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♦Tetsuro KOMAI Brief Biography

1920 Born on 14th of June at Nihonbashi, Tokyo as the 6th son of Taka and Shin KOMAI.
His family was an ice merchant at the fish market, making success to own an ice factory later on.

1933 Moved onto the Keio Gijuku Futsusha Secondary School from the Keio Gijuku Yochisha Primary School.
Met the art teacher Kinpei SENBA.

1934 Met copperplate printing for the first time via "Etching" magazine by Takeo NISHIDA.
Joined and learned copperplate techniques at Japan Etching Laboratory, hosted by NISHIDA the year later.
At the gallery in this laboratory, KOMAI had chance to see, and was very touched by print works of MERYON, WHISTLER, Redon, Munch and Kiyoshi HASEGAWA.

1938 Graduated the Keio Gijuku Futsusha Secondary School.
Entered Tokyo School of Fine Arts (Present Tokyo Geijyutsu Daigaku University Department of Art).

1941 Entered work "Port" to the Second Etching Exhibition (held by Japan Etching Artists' Association) at Shiseido Gallery, Ginza.
Copperplate work "Riverside" won the prize at the 4th Bunten exhibition, sponsored by the Ministry of Education.

1942 Graduated Tokyo School of Fine Arts.
Entered a special French course at Tokyo School of Foreign Studies (Present Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)

1943 Graduated a special French course at Tokyo School of Foreign Studies.
Entered MHS Planners, Architects & Engineers Ltd.

1944 Took part in WW2 as an army infantry private at Mizonokuchi East, Division 62.

1945 Returned to MHS Planners, Architects & Engineers Ltd.

1947 Became a member of Ichimokukai (First Thursday Society) presided by Koshiro ONCHI.

1948 Entered the 16th Japan Print Association Exhibition. Prized and became a member of the association.

1950 Entered the 27th Shunyo-kai Exhibition. Prized for his "Lonely Island".
Year later the printing section was opened in Shunyo-kai and KOMAI became a member.

1951 Won the Colony Prize with "Momentary Illusion" at the 1st São Paulo Art Biennial.
In this year KOMAI made copperplate prints for the Japanese tranlation of "Les chants de Maldoror" by Comte de Lautréamont, translation by Mizuho AOYAGI (Published from Mokuba-sha Publishing in 1952).

1952 Entered works such as "Momentary Illusion" and "Bottom of the Sea" to the 2nd Lugano "White and Black" International Exhibition and won the 2nd Prize.
Exhibited works in Salon de Mai, Paris.
Joined "Jikken Kobo (Experiment studio)", a inter media group advised by Shuzo TAKIGUCHI.

1953 Held his first solo exhibition at the Shiseido Gallery in January. Exhibitied series works "Fugue Somnambule" and first colored prints such as "Evening Town".
Established "Japan Copperplate Printing Artists' Association" with Yozo HAMAGUCHI and Jyunichiro SEKINO.
In the 5th presentation of "Jikken Kobo", KOMAI made slides for Robert Ganzo's "Lespugue" in collaboration with Joji YUASA's music.

1954 Visited Kiyoshi HASEGAWA in France.
Enrolled in Prof. Robert Camis' Burin class at École des Beaux-Arts.
Exhibited works in "Japanese Artists in Paris" Exhibition in Leverkusen, West Germany.

1955 Exhibited work in the 1st Biennial of Graphic Art Ljubliana.
Returned to Japan.

1956 Solo exhibition at the Minami Gallery.
Married with Yoshiko YOSHIKAWA.

1957 Exhibited work in the 1st International Biennial Exhibition of Prints in Tokyo.

1958 Became part-time lecturer at Joshibi University of Art and Design (until 1963).

1959 Won the Japan Prints Association Award in the 27th Japan Prints Association Exhibition.
Became part-time lecturer at Tokyo University of Fine Arts.
Won the Bridgestone Museum Award with "Bird and Fruits" in the 5th Japan International Arts Exhibition.

1960 Published illustrated book "Calendrier" in collaboration with Tsuguo ANDO from Shoshi Eureka Publishing.

1961 Held "Tetsuro KOMAI Works Exhibition" at Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, hosted by Sakae Gallery.

1962 Became part-time lecturer at Tama Art University.
Became an honorary member of Firenze Academy of Arts.

1963 Caught in the traffic accident. Fractured both lower limbs and spent a year under medical treatment.

1966 Published illustrated book "And They Called It Hanka" in collaboration with Tsuguo ANDO from Galerie Espase.

1968 Designed stage sets and costumes for the theatrical company Haiyuza's "Hate at first glance", written by Jun ISHIKAWA.

1969 Exhibited works in "Exhibition of Seven" by Shunyo-kai members at Shiseido Gallery.

1970 Held solo exhibition at Jiyugaoka Gallery, exhibiting monotype along with copperplate prints.
Published "Modern Print Tetsuro Komai" from Chikumashobo Publishing.
Became Professor of Tama Art University (resigned year later when appointed an assistant professor at Tokyo University of the Arts but continued to lecture as a part-time).
Visited Europe with his wife, meeting with Kiyoshi HASEGAWA again.

1971 Became an assistant professor at Tokyo University of the Arts. He was the first specialised professor for prints at the university. Became a professor the year later.

1973 Published "Tetsuro KOMAI Copperplate Print Works" from Bijutsu Shuppan-sha Publishing.
Held exhibition at Seibu department store at Shibuya.

1974 Exhibited works in "Exhibition of Nine" by Shunyo-kai members at Shiseido Gallery.

1975 Held solo exhibition at Jiyugaoka Gallery.
Visited France to meetKiyoshi HASEGAWA.
New Copperplate Prints Presentation Exhibition, planned by Gendai Hanga Center was held at Oomagari Gallery, Akita and other other galleries.

1976 Exhibited works in "Exhibition of Nine" by Shunyo-kai members at Shiseido Gallery.
Died on 20th November at the age of 56.
"Matiere of Copperplate Printing", which KOMAI worked on up until his death, was published from Bijutsu Shuppan-sha Publishing.

1977 Collection of literary remains "White and Black Modeling" was published from Ozawa Shoten Publishing.
"Tetsuro KOMAI Posthumous Works Exhibition" was held at Ikeda Museum of 20th Century Art.

1979 "Tetsuro KOMAI Print Works Collection" was published from Bijutsu Shuppan-sha Publishing.

1980 "Tetsuro KOMAI Copperplate Prints Exhibition" was held at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.

1982 "Tesuro KOMAI Book Work" was published from Keisho-sha Publishing.

1983 "Tesuro KOMAI's Copperplate Printing" (edited and written by Haruo KAWAI) was published from Iwasaki Bijyutsu-sha Publishing.

1991 "15 years after Death  Copperplate printing poet  Tetsuro KOMAI  Retrospective Exhibtion" was held at Shiseido Gallely

2000 "Tesuro KOMAI Exhibition -FUKUHARA Collection " was held at Setagaya Art Museum.


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Essay: Chasing Tetsuro KOMAI (Japanese)


Toki-no-Wasuremono Archives
"Toki-no-Wasuremono Archives vol.4/Mr.S Collection  Tetsuro KOMAI Exhibition PART I"


"Fukuhara Collection  Tesuro KOMAI Works Exhibition / Shape of Unfinished Dream"
"15 years after Death  Copperplate printing poet  Tetsuro KOMAI  Retrospective Exhibtion" Catalog



No.194    Tetsuro KOMAI Collection Mr.S PART II    26th Oct. - 6th Nov.

No.181    Tetsuro KOMAI Collection Mr.S PART I    20th Nov. - 28th Nov.

No.169    Rediscover The Beauty of Prints    12th Dec. - 27th Dec.

No.69    Tetsuro KOMAI Exhibition -80th Anniversary-    21st Apr. - 20th May. (Japanese page)

No.51    Tetsuro KOMAI and the World of Illustrated Books    11th Jan. - 30th Jan.

No.44    Modern Art in Oriental Sapce II    5th Jun. - 20th Jun.

No.26    Copperplate Print Selection 3    1st Apr. - 10th Apr.

No.17    Watercolor, Drawing and Print Collection    4th Sep. - 21st Sep.

No.1    Copperplate Print Selection 1    5th Jun. - 18th Jun.


Toki-no-Wasuremono Tsushin (Japanese page)

2000 May Editon <Teysuro KOMAI>
1999 December Special Edition (Tesuro KOMAI, Tadanori YOKOO, etc.)


Gallery Owner's Essay (Japanese page)
Tesuro KOMAI -Around Fukuhara Collection-
Around Fukuhara Collection Again -Tesuro KOMAI Discovered-

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