Hisao Domoto

Born in Kyoto in 1928 to a famous family of painters, Hisao Domoto’s father was a collector of traditional Japanese ceramics and calligraphy. From the age of 13, he began to paint and pursued his studies at the Kyoto School of Fine Arts from 1945 to 1949. He was awarded the Nitten Prize in 1957, where he exhibited his work on numerous occasions.


In 1952, Hisao Domoto travelled extensively within Europe, visiting Italy, Spain and France, where he went on to meet many of his fellow countrymen such as Tabuchi, Imai, Sato and Sugai. He quickly became fascinated with French contemporary art, particularly the work of Dubuffet and Marino Marini, which triggered his separation with his classical Japanese painting.


He moved to Paris in 1955 where he stayed until 1965. During this time, he settled at the Grande Chaumiere Academy in Henri Goetz’s studio, and became acquainted with Sam Francis, Riopelle, Soulages and Zao Wou-Ki. In 1957, his work was included in the Salon de Mai exhibition, where his technique took on a more Informel approach. “His painting was set apart by a dynamic writing, bringing in colourful splashes of oriental essence, where the gestual would blend into the European abstract expressionism whilst evoking the movement of these elements.” Lydia Harambourg (L’Ecole de Paris 1945 -1965, Dictionnaire des Peintres, p.148). Domoto is considered to be one of the faces of the Gutai movement, and he was represented by the Stadler Gallery from 1957 to the early 1960s.


From 1965, Domoto’s work evolved. He moved away from lyric abstraction found in the European Informel movement and steered towards a new methodology. By dividing his canvases into different parts; using collages in parallel pleats and concentrated on contrasting colours and geometric shapes. Domoto later moved towards neoconstructivism in the 1970s. He died in 2013 at the age of 85.