Ryoji Kunito (1925 - 2006)
Remembering Ryoji Kunito
He was a wonderful, soft spoken person.
I first encountered him in 1999 looking at the paintings in my gallery, and I had a feeling he was an artist by his body language.. I thought he was one of the Japanese artists, that were frequent guests in the Fuller Building. They somehow knew where to go to see great art, as not all New York museums were free.
I was almost right – he was Japanese American sculptor born in Japan, and we spoke for a while. Next time we met, he showed me his portfolio. I really liked his works. We were sitting in my office, talking about art, and he noticed a Russian catalogue on my desk. He read the title in Russian. I was very surprised to see a Japanese man reading and speaking Russian. I was really impressed with all his work and offered him a solo show…
Ryoji Kunito was very talented sculptor, who implemented elements of Japanese folklore and ornamentation. His sculptures are very unique works of art. He used a century old technique, producing a single sculpture. He was very determined that his sculptures were made to be unique, and one of a kind. No editions. He was casting his sculptures in a NY foundry in a process, to ensure they come out the way he liked it. His work was instantly recognizable.
He was 75 when his exhibit opened in my New York Gallery. It was very special to him seeing his works displayed in the prestigious Fuller Building on Madison Avenue, where some of the greatest artists and sculptors where exhibiting.
He was very proud of the exhibit and invited his family and many friends for this very special occasion.
Sadly, Ryoji Kunito passed away in 2006. He will be forever remembered for his unique sculpture style and contribution to the art world.
1942 Worked in Tenjing, Northern China.
1946 Entered Osaka College for Foreign Language and studied
1952 Studied sculpture at Y. Watanabe's art studio near Osaka.
1953 Exhibition at Ashiya Independent Art.
1956 Immigrated to U.S.A.
Worked in an art restoration shop in Honolulu, Hawaii.
1964 Solo Exhibition at Smolin Gallery, New York, New York
1965 Group Exhibition, "Six Painters and Sculptors,"
Riverside Museum, New York, New York
"Group Show," Litchfield, Ct.
1966 Moved to Long Island, New York.
1969 Group Show, Art for Peace Exhibition, Huntington, New York
1970 Employed by The New York Times and worked on Page Layout Systems.
Worked at Sculpture Center, New York.
2000 Solo Exhibition, Gregory Gallery, New York, NY.
2006 Passed away in New York.