Keiko Minami Biography

Keiko Minami

Japanese

1911-2004

Biography

Keiko Minami was born in the Imizu District, Toyama Prefecture in Japan on February 12, 1911. Orphaned at a young age she expressed and persued an early interest in the arts. She painted and wrote poetry in high school, and studied the art of children's stories under the Japanese novelist and poet Sakae Tsuboi.

After World War II, Minami moved to Tokyo to create children’s books, and it was there that she met her future husband, the renowned mezzotint artist Yōzō Hamaguchi. Minami and Hamaguchi moved to Paris in late 1953 where Minami began studying at the atelier of Johnny Friedlaender, a pioneer in aquatint etching.

Her artistic style was influenced by such artists as Paul Klee, Johnny Friedlaender, Yōzō Hamaguchi, Yoshitoshi Mori, and other Japanese print artists of the Mingei folk craft movement.

In 1959 she was named the official artist of the United Nations. Both MOMA and UNICEF reproduced many of her works as greeting cards. In 1961 began exhibiting with the German dealer Heinz Berggruen. 

Minami and Hamaguchi moved to San Francisco in 1982 and both started showing with Vorpal Galleries.

After a 40 year absence Minami returned to Japan, where she died on December 1, 2004, at age 93.