Takao Tanabe (b. 1926)


Takao Tanabe was born in British Columbia. Of Japanese ancestry Tababe was, with his family, interned during World War II. After the war Tanabe attended art school and since then he has sometimes taught but in the main he has made his way as an artist first and teacher second. Now mostly known for his sweeping West Coast landscapes he was for the ten years he was with the Banff Centre in the 70’s the pre-eminent landscapist of the prairies.

In 1980 Tanabe took up permanent residence on Vancouver Island and he has lived there ever since. There he turned his attention to the coastal landscape. Tanabe’s coastal images, like those of the prairies, illustrate his exemplary powers of observation. He pays strict attention to composition creating with light and exceptional colour control images that are detailed and yet transcendentally simple.

Tanabe is one of Canada’s leading painters and printmakers. Tanabe’s work is found in many public collections including the Glenbow Museum, the Tate Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada.

Cook Channel, Nootka Sound, 1996 is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Nootka Sound is on the West Coast of Vancouver Island but for us the image could well be from where we have kayaked off Cortez Island off the East Coast and that is why we bought it. Many of us who love the moisture laden atmosphere of the Canadian West Coast landscape have a tendency to speak of scenes we see and photographs we take as “Tanabes” . A Tanabe is a feeling as much as it is an image.

Gallery Website


Works of Art

Additional Information

Cook Channel, Nootka Sound 1996
57/70, Etching and Colour Aquatint on Wove Paper
Printed by Peter Braun
19.3 x 22.5 ins (48.9 x 57 cm)
Provenance: Heffel, Private Collector who received it as a gift from the Artist