Biography

Japanese-born painter Hiroshi Senju is noted worldwide for his sublime waterfall and cliff images, which are often monumental in scale. He combines a minimalist visual language rooted in Abstract Expressionism with ancient painting techniques unique to Japan.

Senju is widely recognized as one of the few contemporary masters of the thousand-year-old nihonga style of painting, using pigments made from minerals, ground stone, shell and corals suspended in animal-hide glue. Evoking a deep sense of calm, his waterfalls, which he creates with incredible delicacy by pouring paint onto mulberry paper on board, conjure not only the appearance of rushing water, but its sound, smell and feel.

Hiroshi Senju was the first Asian artist to receive an Honorable Mention Award at the Venice Biennale (1995), and has participated in numerous exhibitions including the Beauty Project in 1996 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, London; The New Way of Tea, curated by Alexandra Munroe, at the Japan Society and the Asia Society in New York in 2002; Paintings on Fusuma at the Tokyo National Museum in 2003; and Frontiers Reimagined, a Collateral Event of the Venice Biennale curated and organized by Sundaram Tagore, in 2015.  In 2017, he was awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendation from the Japanese government for contributions to art and in the same year, he was honored with the Isamu Noguchi Award.


Public installations include seventy-seven murals at Jukoin, a sub-temple of Daitokuji, a Zen Buddhist temple in Japan, and a large waterfall at Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal in Tokyo. The Benesse Art Site of Naoshima Island also houses two large-scale installations.

Senju’s work is in The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; the Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Japan; the Yamatane Museum of Art, Tokyo; Tokyo University of the Arts; and the Kushiro Art Museum, Hokkaido. The Hiroshi Senju Museum Karuizawa in Japan opened in 2011.

Born in Tokyo, 1958 | Lives and works in New York

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