Satoru Abe

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Satoru Abe, East and West, welded copper and bronze, 1971, Hawaii State Art Museum
Two Abstract Figures, oil on canvas painting by Satoru Abe, c. 1955, Honolulu Museum of Art

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:


  • 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 978-0-937426-48-7, 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.


  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ Honolulu Museum of Art, Spalding House Self-guided Tour, Sculpture Garden, 2014, PP. 12 & 15