Akira Kito

1925 – 1994

Kito was born into a family of artists in 1925 and started painting at the age of 16. In 1943 he started at the School of Fine Arts in Tokyo and began exhibiting before arriving in Paris in 1953. He was introduced to cubism and attended the School of Fine Art for four years until 1957.

From 1956, he organised his first exhibition at Lara Vincy, a collaboration that continued in 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1962. “In the early days of his career, his painting became playful, creating a personal overview from what he had gained from western art – which disrespectfully, he took pleasure in turning into a mockery – and creations of ancient Japanese art favouring archaic forms and the colour of fabulous, almost demonic creatures. Humour and intimidation coexist in the first figural canvases (…). Until 1958, he integrated recognisable yet unexpected items, until all representation disappeared revealing outlined signs in a well-worked and thick texture. In turn, the dazzling tones fade away, the shaped-signs disappear from the canvases which have become monochrome; overtaken by a sombre dullness, scarcely revealing any light. From 1961, Kito reconnects with his previous drawing style where humour takes his rights.” Lydia Harambourg (L’Ecole de Paris 1945 – 1965, Dictionnaire des peintres, p. 269).

From 1968 he exhibited his artwork in Italy, Denmark and regularly in Japan, up until 1969. Kito was friends with Austrian painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser, and although influenced by each other, Kito kept his own technique without exploiting his friend’s explosion of colour.
In 1970, he returned suddenly to Japan and pursued his work in his native country. He passed away in 1994 at the age of 69.


– 1956 Galerie Lara Vincy, Paris, France
– 1958 Galerie Lara Vincy, Paris, France
– 1959 Galerie Lara Vincy, Paris, France
– 1960 Galerie Lara Vincy, Paris, France
– 1962 Galerie Lara Vincy, Paris, France
– 1978 Galerie Yves Brun et galerie Jean-Pierre Lavignes, Paris, France


– 1955, « Taureau » galerie Breteau et galerie Haut-Pavé, Paris, France
– 1956, « Les Oiseaux » galerie Breteau, Paris, France
– 1957, « Le Christ » galerie Ventadour, Paris, France
– 1958, « Micro Salon 58 » galerie Iris Clert, Paris, France
– 1958 et 1960 « Artistes Japonais à Paris » (“Japanese artists in Paris”) Musée Galliéra, Paris, France
– 1960, « Aspects de l’Art contemporain » (“Aspects of contemporary art”) Université de Caen, France
– 1961 et 1962 invité à « L’Ecole de Paris » galerie Charpentier, Paris, France
– 1962, “Art fantastique” (“Fantastic art”) Kunstlerhaus, Vienna, Austria
– 1962 “Peintres Japonais” (“Japanese painters”) Musée d’Evreux, France
– 1963, “Idoles et Démons” (“Idols and Demons” Musée d’art du XXème siècle de Vienna, Austria
– 1964 to 1966, “Peintures japonaises” (Japanese paintings”) Galerie Argos, Nantes, France
– 1961, 1966 et 1967, Salon d’Automne, Paris, France
– 1986, catalogue Akira Kito 1958-1964, galerie Cical Lefèvre, Paris, France
– 2013 « Hundertwasser, Japan and the Avant-garde », Belvedere Museum, Vienne, Autriche


– Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
– Fine Art Museum of San Francisco, Californie, Etats-Unis
– National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, Etats-Unis

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