Biography of Miyuki TANOBE



Miyuki Tanobe was born in 1937 in Morioka, Japan. She was named Miyuki, which means “deep snow”, for there was a violent snowstorm raging on the day she was born.

Tanobe attended primary and secondary school to be trained in the Japanese manner. Aware of her incipient artistic gifts, she used all her energies to open the doors of Gei-Dai University, Tokyo’s school of fine arts. When she entered university, Miyuki chose nihonga, a school of painting which describes itself as “Japanese painting”, for that is what the word means.

Nihonga artists use the traditional Japanese brush, colours made from hand-ground powders and glue, applied with water and incorporating pictorial matter.

While nihonga formed the main focus of her studies, Miyuki Tanobe’s university programme required her to attend workshops in oil painting, watercolours and engraving and to take courses in European, Chinese and Japanese art.

Tanobe arrived in France in 1963 where she painted at La Grande Chaumière in Paris before registering at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, France’s leading school of fine arts.

Miyuki Tanobe’s arrival in Canada in 1971 came as a result of a chance meeting in Paris with Maurice Savignac, her future husband, a french Canadian from Montreal.

Miyuki Tanobe’s work reflects a freedom of action. Her panels - she paints principally on rigid supports such as wood or sheets of Masonite - are filled with scenes that she has seen, analyzed and transformed.

To make the message of her works more effective, she transforms “humble and unavoidable reality” by reformulating it, adding or deleting elements depending on her assessment of their contribution to the scene she is recording. A picture by Miyuki Tanobe goes to the heart of the matter. She wants to open our eyes so that we may better see what we already know, or adjust our perception of what we think we know.

The colour in Miyuki’s paintings is rich and full of contrast. Working with superimposed layers, applying the pigments with her pliable, flexible Japanese brush, Miyuki Tanobe succeeds in revealing surprising and unexpected aspects of the objects and people she depicts in her pictures without, however, making it difficult to read them.        

Miyuki Tanobe's work has been shown at Galerie Valentin since 1972. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has one very large painting by Tanobe, as do the Musée du Québec, the Musée de Joliette and the Saidye Bronfman Centre in Montreal. Her paintings are to be found in prestigious corporate collections, such as Lavalin, Pratt & Whitney, Shell Canada, Reader’s Digest and many others.

If you wish to view the National Film Board movie on Miyuki Tanobe, click here


·     April 1995: Rétrospective Musée Pierre Boucher , Trois-Rivières

·     Sept.1993: Rétrospective Pavillon Japonais du Jardin Botanique,Montréal, avec la participation de la Galerie Jean-Pierre Valentin

·     1991: Ambassade du Canada à Tokyo, avec la participation de la Galerie Jean-Pierre Valentin

·      Oct. 1987: Galerie l’Art français, Montréal

·      Sept. 1987: Délégation du Québec, New York

·      Nov. 1983: 10ème Anniversaire, délégation du Québec, Tokyo

·      Oct. 1983: Galerie l’Art Français, Montréal

·      April 1982:Art Expo New York, New York

·      1982 : Galerie l’Art Français, Montréal

·      June 1981: Musée de Joliette, Joliette

·      1981:Galerie l’Art Français, Montréal

·      Dec. 1980 et 1981:Place des Arts, Montréal

·      Nov. 1980: Galerie l’Art Français, Montréal

·      Nov. 1979: Galerie l’Art Français, Montréal

·      1978 : Galerie l’Art Français, Montréal

·      Dec. 1976: Galerie Marlborough Godard, Toronto

·      Oct. 1976 : Galerie Marlborough Godard, Montréal

·      Nov. 1974 : Galerie l’Art Français, Montréal

·      Summer 1973: Terre des Hommes, Pavillon Japonais, Montréal

·      March 1972: Galerie l’Art Français, Montréal

·      1964: Galerie Royale, Paris


·      April 26- May 10, 2014: Surrey, Little, Tanobe: Montreal Streets. Galerie Valentin, Montreal

·      Spring 2013-2001:  Artists’ choice. Galerie Valentin, Montréal

·     Winter 2013-1996 : Small size works. Galerie Valentin, Montréal

·      Fall 2005 Impromptu, Galerie Valentin, Montréal

·      1991 à 2005 : Les Femmeuses. Pratt & Whitney Canada, Longueuil

·      Spring 1999: Autoportrait. Galerie Jean-Pierre Valentin, Montréal

·      April 1990: Les Femmeuses’90. Pratt & Whitney Canada, Montréal

·      Oct. à Avril 1989: Le Moi Secret, Bibliothèque Nationale du Canada, Ottawa

·      April 1989: Les Femmeuses’89. Pratt & Whitney Canada, Montréal

·      1985 : Regards sur 31 Femmes Artistes. M. C. C. I. Montréal

·      Nov. 1984: Made in Canada. Bibliothèque    Nationale du Canada, Ottawa

·      1983 : Made in Canada IV. Bibliothèque Nationale du Canada, Ottawa

·      1983 : Vivre en Ville. Expo itinérante à  travers le Canada. Lavalin Inc.

·      1979-1983 : Oeuvres Personnelles de Miyuki Tanobe. Toronto, Calgary et Vancouver

·      April 1982 : Art Expo N. Y. avec la Galerie l’Art Français de Montréal

·      June à Sept. 1979 : Vivre en Ville. Terre des Hommes, Expo itinérante, Montréal, Toronto et Calgary

·      May to June 1978 : Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal. Tableaux de la collection CIL d’oeuvres d’art

·      January 1978 : Place des Arts, Montréal

·      June to July 1975 : Québec Fête. Centre d’Art du Mont-Royal

·      Spring 1975 : Galerie Marlborough Godard, Montreal

·      Autumn 1974 : Galerie Marlborough Godard, Montreal

·      1974 : Terre des Hommes. MBAM. Chez Arthur et Caillou Lapierre

·      1973 : Terre des Hommes. Pavillon Japonais, Montreal

·      Spring 1974: L’Homme et son Univers. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal

·      Autumn 1963: Salon d’Automne de la peinture Nihonga, Tokyo

·      Autumn 1962: Salon d’Automne de la peinture Nihonga, Tokyo


·      Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Monteal

·      Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Québec

·      Musée de Joliette, Joliette

·      Musée Saidye Bronfman, Montréal


·      Lavalin, Montreal

·      C. I. L. Montreal

·      La Laurentienne, Montreal

·      Centre de Recherche et Développement, Pratt & Whitney

·      Shell Canada, Ressources

·      Sélection du Reader’s Digest, Montreal


·      2003 : TV

·      1987 : Radio-Québec, Le Magazine

·      1985 : Radio-Québec, Arrimage

·      1982 : CBC, Seeing it our way

·      1980 : Office National du Film, Le monde éphémère de M. Tanobe   


  • Robert Bernier, Miyuki Tanobe, Les Éditions de l’Homme, 2004.
  • Léo Rosshandler,  Miyuki Tanobe, Éditions M. Broquet, 1988
  • Gabrielle Roy, Bonheur d’Occasion, 1983
  • Yves Beauchemin, Cybèle, Coffret de luxe de sérigraphies, 1982
  • Léo Rosshandler,  Miyuki Tanobe, Éditions M. Broquet, 1980
  • Gilles Vigneault, Les gens de mon pays, 1980
  • Québec je t’aime, Éditions Toundra

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