ARTISTS / YASUHIRO ISHIMOTO / ARTIST BIOGRAPHY [ VIEW THUMBNAILS ]

YASUHIRO ISHIMOTO

(Japanese, 1921-2012)

The fifty-year career of Yasuhiro Ishimoto, celebrated both in Japan and the United States, demonstrates photographic versatility and an artist sensibility dually formed by studies in modernist aesthetics in the US and a strong Japanese cultural identity.

Ishimoto was born in San Francisco in 1921 and raised in Japan from the age of three to eighteen. He returned to the US to pursue his studies but was interrupted by the outbreak of WWII and his confinement to an internment camp for Japanese Americans in Colorado. Upon his release, he moved to Chicago and, inspired by the writings of György Kepes and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, enrolled at the Institute of Design.

In the early 1950s Edward Steichen, then director of the photography department at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), included Ishimoto's work in his groundbreaking exhibition and book, The Family of Man. Ishimoto's first solo exhibition in the US took place in 1960 at the Art Institute of Chicago, MoMa. Since then there have been many others at prominent museums throughout the US and Japan. Ishimoto moved back to Japan permanently in 1961.

Over twenty monographs on his photography have been published; seminal among them is Katsura: Tradition and Creation in Japanese Architecture, the 1960 book produced with noted architects Kenzo Tange and Walter Gropius. The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Kōchi Museum in Japan are major repositories of his prints, leaving few available in the market. In 1996, the Government of Japan recognized Ishimoto as a Person of Cultural Merit.

CHRONOLOGY

1921

Born in San Francisco, CA

1924

Returns to his parents' hometown in K̄chi Prefecture, Japan

1939

Graduates high school and moves to San Diego, CA to study agriculture

1941

Sent to a Japanese-American internment camp in Colorado where he develops an interest in photography

1948-1952

Studies photography and functional design at the Institute of Design under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Twice awarded the Moholy-Nagy Prize

1953

Returns to Japan

1959-1961

Returns to Chicago on a fellowship

1961

Returns permanently to Japan

1969

Becomes a naturalized Japanese citizen

1996

The Japanese Government designates Ishimoto as a Person of Cultural Merit

2012

Dies in Rome

SELECTED INSTITUTIONAL SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2010

Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture
Photographs by Ishimoto (catalog)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

2001

Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Photographs 1946-2001
Museum of Art, Kōchi, Japan

2000-2001

Yasuhiro Ishimoto Photographs: Traces of Memory
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH

1999

Yasuhiro Ishimoto: A Tale of Two Cities (catalog)
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

1998

Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Chicago and Tokyo (catalog)
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo

1996

Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Remembrance of Things Present (catalog)
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

1989-1990

Retrospective
The Photography of Yasuhiro Ishimoto (catalog)
Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo

1977

Eros+Cosmos in Mandala Photographed by Yasuhiro Ishimoto
Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo

1960

Yasuhiro Ishimoto
The Art Institute of Chicago, IL

SELECTED INSTITUTIONAL GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2003

The History of Japanese Photography (catalog)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

1976

The Photographer and the City
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL

1975

History of Modern Photography: 1945-1970
Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo

1974

New Japanese Photography (catalog)
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

1967

Photography of the 20th Century
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

1961

Diogenes with Camera V: Bill Brandt, Lucien Clergue, and Yasuhiro Ishimoto
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (organized by Edward Steichen)

1955

The Family of Man
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

1953

Always the Young Strangers
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

The Exhibition of Contemporary Photography: Japan and America
National Museum of Modern Art, Japan

SELECTED MONOGRAPHS

2012

Kochi Museum. The Photography of Yasuhiro Ishimoto: A Tranquil, Timeless Perspective from the Collection of the Museum of Art. Kochi, Japan.

2008

Ishimoto, Yasuhiro. Composition: Photographs. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

1999

Isozaki, Arata, Westerbeck, Colin, Yokoe, Fuminori and Ishimoto, Yasuhiro.
Art Institute of Chicago. Yasuhiro Ishimoto: A Tale of Two Cities.

1996

National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. "Remembrance of Things Present" (Genzai no kioku)

1995

Sono Kansei to Shikaku. The Photography of Yasuhiro Ishimoto: 1948 – 1989

1988

Ishimoto, Yasuhiro. "Flowers" (Hana). Tokyo: Kyuryudo Art Publishing.
(English edition, San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1989).

1969

Callahan, Harry. Ishimoto, Yasuhiro. Chicago, Chicago. Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppansha. (Republished in Japanese in 1983.)

1960

Ishimoto, Yasuhiro, Kenzo Tange, and Walter Gropius. Katsura: Tradition and Creation in Japanese Architecture. Tokyo:Zokeisha Publications, Ltd., 1960; New Haven: Yale University Press 1960. (A redesigned version was published in 1971 in Japan and in 1972 in the US).

1958

Ishimoto, Yasuhiro. Someday, Somewhere. Foreword by Tsutomu Watanabe. Tokyo: Geibi Shuppansha

* Titles of books that are in quotations indicate the original is in Japanese

SELECTED AWARDS

1996

Person of Cultural Merit by the Japanese State

1994

Master of Photography Prize, Arles, France

1993

Japan's Fourth Class Order of the Rising Sun Medal

1983

Japan's Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon

1978

Japanese Ministry of Education's Art Encouragement through the Selection of Excellence Award

1970

Mainichi Art Award for photo book, Chicago, Chicago

1962

Camera art (Camera geijutsu) magazine's Camera Artist Prize

1951, 1952

Moholy-Nagy Prize twice awarded by the Chicago Institute of
Design, Chicago, IL

INSTITUTIONAL COLLECTIONS

Art Institute of Chicago, IL, USA

Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, Canada

Kawasaki City Museum, Kawasaki, Japan

Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Kiyosato, Japan

Musashino Art University, Tokyo, Japan

Kochi Museum, Kochi, Japan

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, USA

Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA

National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan

Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan

Princeton University, PA, USA

Santa Barbara Museum, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics, Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan

Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art, Yamaguchi, Japan

Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan

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