Minoru Niizuma (新妻 実, Niizuma Minoru, September 29, 1930 – September 5, 1998) was a Japanese abstract sculptor. Biography He graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1955, and from 1954 through 1958 he exhibited with the Modern Art Association. Niizuma moved to New York in 1959, and from 1964 through 1970 he was an instructor at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. From 1972 through 1984, he was adjunct professor at Columbia University. Niizuma worked mostly marble, but also granite, volcanic rock and other materials. His designs would vary from geometric to organic and, sometimes, his references were reminiscent from folk art. His works show the influence of the oriental Asian tradition and the western contemporary art. The Wave's Voice, installed in the Honolulu Museum of Art, is a typical example of his work. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D. C.), the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Mie Prefectural Art Museum (Tsu City, Japan), the Museum of Modern Art (New York City), the National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo), the Seibu Museum (Tokyo), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York York City) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon are among the public collections holding works by Niizuma. He participated in São Miguel Island, Azores, at an international rock sculpture symposium, creating his work "Azores" (1987), in basalt, now shown in Ponta Delgada. Niizuma in Portugal Niizuma worked extensively in Portugal from 1981 through 1998.  He was an integral figure in strengthening the cultural and artistic relationship between Portugal and Japan.  He worked with the President of Portugal, Mario Soares (1986 - 1996) to bring Japanese art to the country, while also introducing many Portuguese artists to Japan.  Niizuma first came to Portugal as a member of the Evora Symposium of 1981.  While there, he worked with many other prominent Portuguese artists, like Jose Cutileiro, Pedro Ramos and Manuel Costa Cabral.  After recognizing the beautiful marble and other stones that were widely available in Portugal and having cultivated relationships with other sculptors, Niizuma continued to work in Portugal, mainly in Lisbon.  In 1986, Niizuma had a full exhibition at the Calouse Gulbenkian Museum, and even today, two of his sculptures are on permanent display.  Jose Berardo, a prominent Portuguese art collector and businessman is a large collector of Niizuma’s works.  Niizuma had several exhibitions at the Berardo Museum in Lisbon.  Today, over 30 pieces are displayed at the Minoru Niizuma Sculpture Garden located at Berardo’s Bacalhao winery just outside of Lisbon.  Public Works in Lisbon The Castle of the Eye is displayed outside the main entrance of the Contemporary Art wing and another Castle of the Eye is located in the sculpture garden, just outside of the amphitheater.  A Castle of the Eye of pink marble is located in the ‘Lago do Niizuma’ at the botanical gardens in Jardim do Montiero-Mor in Northern Portugal.  A large-scale Castle of the Eye is located in the heart of the Jardim do Belem.  It is right across the street from the world famous Pasteis de Nata de Belem.  Over 30 pieces are located at the Bacalhao winery in a sculpture garden dedicated to Minoru Niizuma. A unique 5 piece Castle of the Eye, as well as a wide variety of smaller and medium sized pieces are on display in this shaded garden lined with oak and bamboo trees.  Niizuma in Japan Niizuma studied at the Tokyo University of Arts before moving to New York City.  After establishing himself as a prominent sculptor in New York and attending several stone symposiums, Niizuma worked to organize several in Japan.  He organized the Iwate Symposium for several years, inviting many sculptors to complete works in Iwate, Japan.  Legacy The Niizuma Foundation for the Arts (NFA) is dedicated to supporting current artists, especially those that work towards bridging different communities.  The foundation provides grants as well as gallery space to both established and emerging artists in upstate New York.  The foundation is also dedicated to the maintenance of Niizuma’s sculptures that are displayed publicly around the world.
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Niizuma taught at the Brooklyn Museum Art School and Columbia University. He is best known for his marble sculptures. His work is represented throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan.
American, Japanese
Artist, Professor, Sculptor
Minoru Niizuma
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License