Tsuruko Yamazaki

Tsuruko Yamazaki (b. 1925 – d. 2019) Born in Ashiya, Hyogo, Japan, Yamazaki graduated from the University of the Sacred Heart, Obayashi, in Nishinomiya, Japan in 1948. She met the influential painter Jiro Yoshihara (founding member of the Gutai group) when he led an arts workshop Yamazaki attended in Ashiya. Yamazaki was a prolific member of the Japanese postwar avant-garde collective called the Gutai Art Association, which was formed in 1954 and remained prominent until it was dissolved in 1972 following the sudden death of artist and Gutai co-founder Jiro Yoshihara. Yamazaki’s work is characterized by boldly colorful abstract style as well as her use of non-traditional materials such as tin, mirrors, and vinyl that she treated with aniline dyes to produce her diverse color palette. The artist also experimented with light installations before transitioning her practice to works on canvas.


Despite being the only woman artist who remained an active part of the Gutai group from its beginning through its dissolve, she did not gain her international recognition until later in her career. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions as well as in many major surveys of Japanese modern and contemporary art such as, “Japanese Art after 1945: Scream Against the Sky” (Yokohama Museum of Art, 1986), “Gutai: Splendid Playground” (Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2013), as well as the 45th and 53rd Venice Biennales (1993, 2009, respectively). 


Yamazaki’s works can be found throughout Japan and the United States in collections such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; The Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Ashiya City Museum of Art and History, Japan; Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Japan; Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Art, Japan; Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Japan; National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; Osaka City Museum of Modern Art, Japan; Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Japan; The Miyagi Museum of Art, Japan.