Hiroshi Senju (Japan 1958 -)


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.

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 New Way of Tea, curated by Alexandra Munroe, at the Japan Society and the Asia Society in New York (2002); Paintings on Fusuma at the Tokyo National Museum (2003); and Frontiers Reimagined at the Venice Biennale (2015). He was recently awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendation from the Japanese government for contributions to art. In May 2017 he was honored with the Isamu Noguchi Award.

Public installations include seventy-seven murals at Juko-in, a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji, a Zen Buddhist temple in Japan, and a monumental waterfall at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. The Benesse Art Site of Naoshima Island also houses two largescale installations. In 2018, Senju completed two monumental paintings for Kongobuji Temple at Koyasan, a sacred site in Japanese Buddhism and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The works—a waterfall and a cliff—were commissioned to celebrate Koyasan’s 1,200th anniversary and will exhibited in several major museum presentations throughout Japan until they are installed as fusuma (sliding doors) in the Kongobuji Temple in the summer of 2020.

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. In 2009, Skira Editore published a monograph of his work titled Hiroshi Senju. The Hiroshi Senju Museum Karuizawa in Japan opened in 2011.

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

Work Selection

Alternate Text
Waterfall on Colors