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Toshiko Takaezu
American artist

Toshiko Takaezu

Toshiko Takaezu
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American artist
Was Artist Painter Ceramist
From United States of America
Field Arts
Gender female
Birth 17 June 1922
Death 9 March 2011 (aged 88 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Toshiko Takaezu (17 June 1922 – 9 March 2011) was an American ceramic artist and painter.


Takaezu was born to Japanese immigrant parents in Pepeekeo, Hawaii, on 17 June 1922. She attended Saturday classes at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1947–1949) and attended the University of Hawaii (1948, 1951) where she studied under Claude Horan. From 1951 to 1954, she continued her studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (1951), where she befriended Finnish ceramist Maija Grotell, who became her mentor. In 1955, Takaezu traveled to Japan, where she studied Zen Buddhism and the techniques of traditional Japanese pottery, which influenced her work.

She taught at several universities and art schools: Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin; Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio (10 years); Honolulu Academy of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii; and Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (1967–1992), where she was awarded an honorary doctorate.

Takaezu treated life with a sense of wholesomeness and oneness with nature; everything she did was to improve and discover herself. She believed that ceramics involved self-revelation, once commenting, "In my life I see no difference between making pots, cooking and growing vegetables... there is need for me to work in clay... it gives me answers for my life." When she developed her signature “closed form” after sealing her pots, she found her identity as an artist. The ceramic forms resembled human hearts and torsos, closed cylindrical forms, and huge spheres she called “moons.” Before closing the forms, she dropped a bead of clay wrapped in paper inside, so that the pieces would rattle when moved. The most important part of her ceramic pieces is the hollow space of air within. She relates this to the idea that what’s inside a person is the most important.

She retired in 1992 to become a studio artist, living and working in the Quakertown section of Franklin Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, about 30 miles northwest of Princeton. In addition to her studio in New Jersey, she made many of her larger sculptures at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. She lived in Hawaii for 10 years and died March 9, 2011 in Honolulu.

Toshiko Takaezu made functional wheel-thrown vessels early in her career. Later she switched to abstract sculptures with freely applied poured and painted glazes. In the early 1970s, when she didn’t have access to a kiln, she painted on canvas.


Takaezu had many solo exhibitions throughout the United States:

  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin (1955)
  • Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio (1959, 1961)
  • Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, Tennessee (1961)
  • Gallery 100, Princeton, New Jersey (1965)
  • Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon (1971)
  • Florida Junior College, Jacksonville, Florida (1975, 1985)
  • Hale Pulamamau, Kuakini Hospital, Honolulu, Hawaii (1987)
  • Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey (1989)
  • University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, Connecticut (1989)

It has also been in several group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad in countries including Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Japan, and Switzerland.

Honors and awards

Takaezu won many honors and awards for her work:

  • McInerny Foundation grant (1952)
  • Tiffany Foundation grant (1964)
  • National Endowment for the Arts fellowship (1980)
  • Living Treasure award, Honolulu, Hawaii (1987)

Collections containing work

Takaezu's work may be found in private and corporate permanent collections, as well as several public collections across the United States:

  • Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts
  • Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
  • Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio,
  • Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Currier Museum of Art , Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan
  • Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York
  • Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, New Jersey
  • Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey
  • Hawaii State Art Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia,
  • Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Kresge Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
  • Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey
  • New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, New Jersey
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin
  • Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
  • Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio
  • University Art Museum, Albany, New York
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hawaii
  • University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire
  • Zanesville Museum of Art, Zanesville, OH

Takaezu's work may also be found in the National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand.

Selected works

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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