Shinoda Toko Portrait

The artist in her atelier, New York, 1957
courtesy: Gifu Collection of Modern art Foundation

1913Born on March 28 in Dalian, China. Relocates to Tokyo the following year when her father takes up a new post there. Enjoys calligraphy as a child.
1940First solo exhibition at Kyukyodo Gallery in Tokyo. Her own freely inspired calligraphy, unbound by traditions, is criticised as “grass without roots”.
1945Spends two years recuperating from illness after World War II.
1947Begins to produce abstract works unconstrained by calligraphic forms.
1954Produces first architectural work: mural calligraphy for Kenzo Tange’s Japanese Government Pavilion at the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Exhibits in the Japanese Calligraphy exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York
1955Produces calligraphy live on camera for documentary film Calligraphie Japonaise by Belgian painter Pierre Alechinsky.
1956At a time of international interest in the resonance between Japanese avant-garde calligraphy and Western abstract art, relocates to the US alone for two years, working mainly from a base in New York. Presents solo exhibitions around the US and in Paris, France.
1958Returns to Japan. Lives in Den-en-chofu, in the Ota Ward of Tokyo. Reaffirming that Japan’s moist climate suits the nature of sumi ink, works on her own distinctive abstract expressions, creating in Japan, but actively exhibiting in other countries. Produces many works for architectural projects, including mural calligraphy, murals, ceramic walls, and theatre curtains.
1959Tradition and innovation in Japanese art: Hakuin, Shiko Munakata, Toko Shinoda, Nankoku Hidai exhibition at Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller Otterio, the Netherlands.
1963Builds a villa in the foothills of Mount Fuji, Yamanashi Prefecture, and subsequently spends time at the villa each year.
1965Produces relief and mural for Kyoto International Conference Center (designed by Sachio Otani). Presents the first of a number of solo exhibitions at the Betty Parsons Gallery, New York.
1974Produces mural and fusuma-e panels for Zojoji Temple, Tokyo.
1979Okada, Shinoda, and Tsutaka: Three Pioneers of Abstract Painting in 20th Century Japan exhibition (Phillips Collection, Washington DC, touring to other venues).
Wins the 27th Japan Essayist Club Award for Sumi iro (The Colour of Sumi).
1992Toko Shinoda Retrospective, Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu.
1996Solo exhibition TOKO SHINODA VISUAL POETRY, Singapore Art Museum.
2003Toko Shinoda Art Space opens in Seki City, Gifu Prefecture.
2013Retrospectives: Shinoda Toko 100 years: Momo no Fu (Scenes from a Century), Gifu Collection of Modern Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu, and other venues; Toko Shinoda—A Lifetime of Accomplishment, Musée Tomo, Tokyo.
2021Dies in Tokyo.