NAMBATA Fumio: Works 1960-1974



Born the second son of Nambata Tatsuoki, a proponent of Japanese abstract painting, Fumio created numerous works full of acutely intricate lines and a profound color palette. Attention already focused on his works in both solo and group exhibitions, but his life was still full of promise when it tragically ended at age 32. The works remaining from his career of barely 15 years number about 2,000, primarily watercolors with some oils and prints. As a painter cut off in his prime, a youthful painter, his popularity is still deep-rooted, and led to the 2008 publication of extracts from his voluminous diaries (Terminus, Space Station, Genki Shobo). This tome and other sources continue to shed new light on his thoughts and oeuvre.

Born on April 27, second son of Tatsuoki (1905?1997) and mother Sumie. His parents gave him the name Fumio, literally "history man" or "literature man," with the hope that he would grow up with books as his lifelong friends.
1949 - Age 8
Began to draw self-portraits in oils on sketch boards.
1957 - Age 16
Entered Waseda University Senior High School, his father’s alma mater. During these school years he preferred music to painting.
1960 - Age 19
Absorbed in reading, he sensed the emptiness of school studies. Graduating from Waseda University Senior High School, he entered the Art Department of Bunka Gakuin (Kanda Suragadai, Tokyo) intending to become a painter. With no interest in the traditional pedagogy of sketching from plaster casts, he wandered the streets of Kanda alone, sketching and visiting used bookstores.
1962 - Age 21
The art critic TONO Yoshiaki critiqued his works and noted that there was nothing more for him to learn from Bunka Gakuin. He quit the school and continued to pour his heart into solitary work.
1963 - Age 22
Received instruction in copperplate printmaking from IKEDA Masuo at the print studio of the Japan Artists Association.
1965 - Age 24
Entered Waseda University. Returning to student life after many years, he began to enjoy associating with people.
1966 - Age 25
Distressed at being caught in the crossfire of antagonism between students as the university dispute became more intense. The aftereffects lingered in his later years.
1967 - Age 26
First solo exhibition held at the Gallery Dainana in Shinbashi, Tokyo.
1974 - Age 32
Returning from a trip to Kyushu on the "Harima" ferry from Kokura bound for Kobe, Fumio fell overboard in the early hours of January 29th. On March 7th, his body was discovered by fishermen off the coast of Hakosaki, Mitoyo in Kagawa prefecture.

Tokyo Operacity Art Gallery