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Satoru Abe is an American sculptor and painter. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1926. He attended President William McKinley High School, where he took art lessons from Shirley Ximena Hopper Russell. In 1948, after spending a summer at the California School for Fine Arts, he decided to pursue an art career in New York City and attended the Art Students League of New York where he studied with George Grosz, Louis Bouche and Jon Carrol. He married a fellow student and returned to Hawaii in 1950 with his wife, Ruth, and daughter Gail. After returning to Hawaii, Abe met local artist Isami Doi, who would become a close friend and mentor, and began a series of copper work experiments with fellow artist Bumpei Akaji. In 1956, Abe returned to New York and found a creative home at the SculptureCenter, where his work attracted the attention of gallery owners and others. In 1963, Abe was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Abe returned to Hawai'i in 1970. Along with Bumpei Akaji, Edmund Chung, Tetsuo Ochikubo, Jerry T. Okimoto, James Park, and Tadashi Sato, Satoru Abe was a member of the Metcalf Chateau, a group of seven Asian-American artists with ties to Honolulu.[1]

Abe is best known for his sculptures of abstracted natural forms, many of which resemble trees, such as East and West in the collection of the Hawaii State Art Museum. He also painted. The eerily figurative Two Abstract Figures in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art typifies this aspect of his work. The Honolulu Museum of Art and the Hawaii State Art Museum are among the public collections that hold works of Satoru Abe.[2] His sculptures in public places include:

Three Rocks on a Hill, Honolulu Community College, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1975
Among the Ruins, Leeward Community College, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1973
Tree of Knowledge, Nanakuli High and Intermediate School, Nanakuli, Hawaii, 1971
Enchanting Garden, President William McKinley High School, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1983
Three Clouds, Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1974
An Island of Trees, Honolulu International Airport, Diamond Head Extension, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1987
The Seed, Farrington High School, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1996
Reaching for the Sun, Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1997
Early Spring, 'Aiea High School, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1976
A Community Surrounded by Sugar Cane, Kamiloa Elementary School, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1978.
Moon Beyond the Fence, Pearl City High School, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1981
Spring, Summer, Autumn, James B. Castle High School, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1980.
Five Logs on a Hill, Kau High and Pahala Elementary School, Pahala, Hawaii, 1975
Landscape on the Ocean, Waiakea High School, Waiakea, Hawaii, 1983
Reaching for the Sun, Iao School, Wailuku, Hawaii, 1981
A Path Through the Trees, Maui High School, Kahului, Hawaii, 1977
Trees, Vines, Rocks, and Petroglyphs, Lanai Community School, Lanai City, Hawaii, 1976
Boulders, Salt Pond and Taro Fields, Eleele Elementary School, Eleele, Hawaii, 1989
Aged Tree, Kauikeaouli Hale, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1976
Untitled sculpture, Leilehua High School, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1976
Volcano, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1980

References

Abe, Satoru, Sketches 1956-1966 in Bamboo Ridge: Journal of Hawai'i Literature and Arts, Fall 1991, 7-12.
Clarke, Joan and Diane Dods, Artists/Hawaii, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1996, 2-7.
Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Satoru Abe, A Retrospective 1948-1998, Honolulu, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, 1998.
Department of Education, State of Hawaii, Artists of Hawaii, Honolulu, Department of Education, State of Hawaii, 1985, pp. 31–38.
Doi, Isami, Excerpts from "Letters to Satoru Abe, 1952-1965" in Bamboo Ridge: Journal of Hawai'i Literature and Arts, Spring 1998, 57-64.
Haar, Francis and Neogy, Prithwish, Artists of Hawaii: Nineteen Painters and Sculptors, University of Hawaii Press, 1974, 19-25.
Honolulu Museum of Art, Spalding House Self-guided Tour, Sculpture Garden, 2014, pp. 12 & 15
Morse, Marcia, Legacy: Facets of Island Modernism, Honolulu, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2001, ISBN 0-937462-48-2, pp. 14, 28-33
Morse, Marcia (ed.), Honolulu Printmakers, Honolulu, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2003, p. 80, ISBN 0-937426-58-X
Morse, Marcia and Allison Wong, 10 Years: The Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Center, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, 2006, ISBN 1888254076, p. 10
Radford, Georgia and Warren Radford, Sculpture in the Sun, Hawaii's Art for Open Spaces, University of Hawaii Press, 1978, 91.
Yoshihara, Lisa A., Collective Visions, 1967-1997, Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1997, 17.

Footnotes

Matsumoto, Lacy, “Hawaii artist honors late friend with exhibition - Satoru Abe to show his work alongside pieces by Jerry Okimoto at Nu'uanu Gallery”, Honolulu Advertiser, July 28, 2008, D1
Honolulu Museum of Art, Spalding House Self-guided Tour, Sculpture Garden, 2014, PP. 12 & 15.

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