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Yasuyoshi Saito

(b Kyoto, March 27, 1911; d Tokyo, April 13, 2001).

Japanese sculptor. He experimented with Constructivist sculpture in 1927 under the influence of such avant-garde sculptors as Tomoyoshi Murayama (1901–77). In 1928 he entered the sculpture department of the Higher Technical College in Tokyo; in 1929 he was accepted into the Nika-Ten exhibition and left college. At the Nikakai (Second Division Association) he studied under sculptor Yūzō Fujikawa (1883–1935). During World War II he stopped sculpting and learnt French and Latin. In 1950 he became a professor at the City College of Art in Kyoto, holding the post until 1974. From 1954 he began making sculptures from welded steel, creating such works as Five Squares and Five Rectangles (steel, 770 mm, 1955; Tokyo, Met. A. Mus.). In 1957 he exhibited in the fourth São Paulo Biennale. In 1963 he was awarded the sixth Takamura Kōtarō prize. In the same year an exhibition of his work was held at the Museum of Modern Art in Kamakura. In ...

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Shin’ichiro Osaki

(b Tokyo, May 4, 1904; d Yokohama, June 13, 2001).

Japanese painter and sculptor. Self-taught as an artist, in the 1920s he met David Burlyuk and others involved with such movements as Futurism, Constructivism and Dada. From 1931 Saitō concentrated on a career as an artist, initially producing Constructivist reliefs. At that time a celebrated incident occurred when he refused to exhibit pieces at the Nikakai (Second Division Society) exhibition on the grounds that his pieces were neither painting nor sculpture: he was first chosen for the Nikakai exhibition in 1936. In 1938, together with Jirō Yoshihara and Takeo Yamaguchi (1902–83), he established the ‘Room Nine Society’ (Kyūshitsukai) with artists of the Nikakai whose works tended towards abstraction. He collaborated on Toro-wood, a series of reliefs (c. 1939) destroyed in World War II (for reconstruction see 1984 exh. cat., p. 54). During the war he was persecuted by the military authorities for his avant-garde activities....