untitled, 1957


One of the main representatives of abstract art in Brazil, Tomie Ohtake (b. 1913, Kyoto, Japan - d. 2015, São Paulo, Brazil) moved to Brazil in 1936. Her career as an artist began at the age of 37, when she became a member of the Seibi group, which brought together artists of Japanese descent. In the late 1950s, when she left behind an initial phase of figurative studies in painting, she immersed herself in abstract explorations. In this phase, she performed a series of paintings which became known as Blind Paintings, where she would blindfold herself in experiments that challenged the ideas which grounded the Brazilian Neo-concrete movement, also bringing sensibility and intuition to the fore of her practice. 


In 1957, invited by critic Mário Pedrosa, she presented her first solo exhibition at the Museu de Arte Moderna in São Paulo, which was followed by her participation in the São Paulo Biennial in 1961. Ohtake began to experiment with various printmaking methods during the 1970s and, beginning in the late 1980s, undertook large-scale sculptural projects and public works in São Paulo and neighboring cities. Having worked until very late in life, Tomie Ohtake passed away in 2015, when she was 101 years old.


Tomie Ohtake works have been extensively exhibited worldwide. Important recent shows include:Tomie Ohtake Dançante, at Instituto Tomie Ohtake (ITO) (2022), in São Paulo, Brazil; Visible Persistence, at Nara Roesler (2021), in New York, USA; Tomie Ohtake: cor e corpo, at Caixa Cultural Brasília (2018), in Brasília, Brazil; Tomie Ohtake: nas pontas dos dedos, at Galeria Nara Roesler (2017), in São Paulo, Brazil. Main recent group show include: Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940-70,  at Whitechapel Gallery (2023), in London, UK; Raio-que-o-parta: Ficções do moderno no Brasil, at Sesc 24 de Maio (2022), in São Paulo, Brazil; Composições para tempos insurgentes, at Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM Rio) (2021), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Surface Work, at Victoria Miro (2018), in London, UK; Arte moderna na coleção da Fundação Edson Queiroz, Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon, Portugal (2017); Fusion: Tracing Asian Migration to the Americas Through AMA’s Collection, at Art Museum of the Americas (2013), in Washington, USA. Her works are included in important collections, such as: Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Caracas, Venezuela; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, USA; M+, Hong Kong; Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), New York, USA; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM Rio), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; Tate Modern, London, UK.





  • mostra de tomie ohtake em NY é início de reconhecimento mundial Download

    mostra de tomie ohtake em NY é início de reconhecimento mundial

    Silas Martí, Folha de S. Paulo 16.3.2016
  • tomie ohtake ganha destaque mundo afora Download

    tomie ohtake ganha destaque mundo afora

    Marcos Grinspum Ferraz, Brasileiros 16.3.2016
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    mostra em nova york celebra tomie ohtake

    Silas Martí, Folha de S. Paulo 15.3.2016
  • tomie ohtake exhibition Download

    tomie ohtake exhibition

    NY Elite Magazine 2.3.2016
  • diálogos da pintura abstrata em hong kong Download

    diálogos da pintura abstrata em hong kong

    Camila Molina, O Estado de S. Paulo 1.2.2016
  • Download

    "the world is our home. a poem on abstraction": para site’s cosmin costinas and inti guerrero – interview

    James Ellis, Art Radar 26.1.2016
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    modern abstraction with an asian sensibility

    The Wanderlister 21.1.2016
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    world one poesia abstrata

    ArtForum 12.12.2015
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    Inti Guerrero, Art Asia Pacific 1.5.2015


Critical Essays

  • tomie ohtake: at her fingertips

    paulo miyada
    Tomie Ohtake: At her fingertips I. Color cutouts Between the 1950s and 1960s, Tomie Ohtake’s first venture into abstract painting became known for its “blind” character; infused with an intense, spontaneous, and informal quality, which often relied on brushstrokes made, literally, with her eyes shut. Soon after that, in the first half of the 1960s, Ohtake’s paintings condensed into more evident shapes, as the artist began to favor compositions where figure and background are clearly distinct. These figures resemble simple geometric shapes, but their outlines flicker as if torn with the tips of the fingers. Few people are aware that this is not a mere illusion. At that point in time, the artist began to produce studies using color paper from magazines which were hand-torn. The process was Ohtake’s way of dealing with the instantaneity of gesture and infusing the entire painting process with chance and control. The compositions Tomie Ohtake identified in these minute collages worked as “scripts” for paintings and engravings that experimented with different scales...