Find, Learn, Price Art
Enjoy the comprehensive art database we've compiled since 1987
Membership Details
Images, sales charts, bios, signatures, 30 artist Alerts and more ...
Art auction records:  Millions of references for pricing research
Or, register for Free Alerts
To track 10 artists.

Already a member?  Sign in here

Tadasuke Kuwayama

 (born 1935)
Tadasuke Kuwayama is active/lives in New York / Japan.  Tadasuke Kuwayama is known for op art-minimalist painting.

Tadasuke Kuwayama

Biography from the Archives of askART

A Japanese-American artist known for strong color geometric op art painting and for ceramic art, Tadasuke Kuwayama has lived in New York state since emigrating to America from Japan 1961, working both in New York City and upstate in Ellenville and Napanoch. 

His work has been exhibited at the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo and the Albany State Museum.

In Japan, his father was a prominent builder of Shinto shrines.


Biography from D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc.
Tadasky (Tadasuke Kuwayama) was born in Nagoya, Japan. He painted since childhood, but as a youngster was steered toward his father's business of shrine-building. This led him to study applied engineering at university in Tokyo and learn the craft of miyadaiku (shrine carpenters) in the family factory.

Tadasky taught himself about modern and Western art from books. His eyes were opened to the power of abstraction through the work of Josef Albers and other Bauhaus artists; art made up of simple squares and other geometric elements was essentially prohibited in the Japanese art tradition. In Japan, Tadasky experimented with many forms of art, including representational painting, but by the time he applied for scholarships to the United States, he was experimenting with simple circles in larger constructions.

Tadasky came to the United States in 1961 on a scholarship to study at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Tadasky's first stop was New York where he decided to stay. He soon won a modern art scholarship competition at the Art Students League and the prize of free tuition enabled him to stay in New York and rent a studio loft in which he worked. At this time, Tadasky sustained himself financially with carpentry work. Later he transferred to the art school of the Brooklyn Museum after Tadasky impressed the director enough to get a scholarship to work entirely in his own studio in Manhattan.

In the early 1960s, Tadasky began to focus on compositions of concentric circles that trigger optical color interaction and explore sensory stimulation. They are highly calculated and precisely created, consisting of thin, pulsating, vibrantly colored lines that seem to whirl and radiate outward from the center. Shortly after arriving in New York, Tadasky set out to create tools that would aid him to create the perfect rings he envisioned. Through painstaking solitary experimentation in his studio, Tadasky developed a special wheel for his circles and adapted it into a drum for vertical lines. For brushwork, he used traditional Japanese brushes best suited to the fine detail of his paintings.

Philip Johnson was among Tadasky's earliest supporters, purchasing a painting in 1964 and introducing Tadasky's work to curators. In 1964 the Museum of Modern Art purchased A-101, 1964, as well as B-171, 1964, for its permanent collection. A-101 appeared in the December 11, 1964 edition of Life magazine in an article titled "Op Art: A dizzying fascinating style of painting."

Other museums soon followed, including the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Seymour Knox purchased 3 works); the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Phoenix Art Museum.

Tadasky was included in the Museum of Modern Art's exhibition "The New Japanese Painting and Sculpture in 1966," which traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, and the Milwaukee Art Museum among others.

In Japan, Tadasky's work was acquired by the Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki, the Nagoya City Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Nagaoka, as well as the Gutai Pinacotheca in Osaka. Private collectors included Harry Abrams, Frederick Weisman, David Rockefeller, and James Michener.

Sam Kootz visited Tadasky's studio loft in 1964 and offered him a solo exhibition at the Kootz Gallery. Tadasky had his first solo exhibition at the prestigious gallery in January 1965 and again in October of that year. Tadasky went on to have solo exhibitions in Japan in 1966 at the Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo and at the Gutai Pinacotheca, Osaka followed by two solo exhibitions at Fischbach Gallery in 1967 and 1969. In 1969 Tadasky and Gene Davis had a joint exhibition at the Closson's Art Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Tadasky participated in seminal Op Art exhibitions including the Museum of Modern Art's The Responsive Eye and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's Kinetic and Optic Art Today both in 1965. He was included in the annual Shusakuten exhibition in Tokyo in 1966, and in the Japanese National Museum of Art's exhibition "Japanese Artists Abroad" the same year. Tadasky's bright, multicolored compositions were an instant success with the public; in 1968, Springbok Editions manufactured a circular jigsaw titled "Whirling Disks by Tadasky."

Tadasky's work was strongly featured in the Columbus Museum of Art's 2007 exhibition "Optic Nerve: Perceptual Art of the 1960s" with seven works illustrated in the exhibition catalogue. Tadasky was also included in "Extreme Abstraction" at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in 2005. Tadasky was recently included in the exhibition "Resounding Spirit: Japanese Contemporary Art of the 1960s" in 2008 organized by the Gibson Gallery at SUNY Potsdam which traveled to the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas and the Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa, Canada.

Tadasky's work can currently be seen in "Adapting and Adopting: Waves of Change as East Encounters West' at the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami, Florida. The Museum of Modern Art recently lent its painting A101, 1964 to "Luminous! Dynamic! Space and Vision in Art from Today Back to 1913" at the Grand Palais in Paris, April 9 - July 2, 2013. B115, 1964 was recently acquired at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Submitted by D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Share an image of the Artist

  Full access to biographies is
  free each Friday

About  Tadasuke Kuwayama

Born:  1935 - Nagoya, Japan
Known for:  op art-minimalist painting