In the studio of Toshinobu Onosatoh (real name - Toshinobu Onosatoh, 1912 - 1986), one
of Japan's first abstract oil painters, are over 300 of the artist's works, including
silkscreens, lithographs, woodblock and other prints, oil paintings predominantly from the
70's and 80's, watercolours from the 80's, and pre-war conte (crayon) sketches and
Mr. Onosatoh was born in Iida city, Nagano prefecture, where his parents were
transferred. His family returned to Kiryuu when he was10. Later, he dropped out of Nihon
University's engineering department to become an artist. Earning a living as a teacher and
a poultry farmer, he exhibited at Zenei Art Group's 'Black' western-style painting show
and in 1937 helped form the Free Art Association.
After returning from 7 years detention in Siberia, he established an abstract geometric
style using dazzling colours like that of mandalas. "I used to see circles of the
same size from the window of the train as I came home from work. When it struck me to line
them up in equal rows, my style was determined in an instant.
That's the extent of my work", wrote the painter in 1961. He won top prize at the
Japan International Art Exhibition in 1963 and international acclaim for his works at the
1965 and 1966 Viennare (sp?), Venice and other exhibitions.
More recently, in February and March of 1992, an exhibition of his work entitled
'Toshinobu Onosatoh - the artist who painted circles' was held at the Shinano Art Gallery
in Nagano as part of their hometown artists series. On November 11, 1992, the long awaited
Toshinobu Onosatoh Art Gallery was opened in Umeda-Cho 1-chome on the north side of the
main gate of Kiryuu Girls' High School.