Tomonori Toyofuku | ‘Tree’

Artist: Tomonori Toyofuku (1925-2019)
Artwork: Tree (1965) 
Collection: Rotterdam municipal collection
Acquisition: Gemeentelijke Commissie Stadsverfraaiing

Toyofuku was born in Kurume, Japan. He studied Japanese literature and later pursued sculpture, specializing in wooden sculptures. Toyofuku was a member of the Japanese avant-garde collective Shinseisaku-Kyokai. In his sculptures (utilising bronze, stone, and wood), he blended modern concepts with traditional Japanese notions of form. He showcased his work at the Venice Biennale in 1960 and 1964. In 1960, he moved to Milan.

On October 28 and 29, 1964, the secretary of the Gemeentelijke Commissie Stadsverfraaiing (‘municipal committie for urban beautification’), Ben Weehuizen, paid the Japanese sculptor a visit in his studio in Milan. His work had made a significant impression at the Venice Biennale. Weehuizen observed that commissioning this artist for the Doelen would be "entirely justified" because "his work demonstrates great vision and solid craftsmanship. The color nuances of his bronzes will do great in the foyer." Moreover, "I pointed out that Rotterdam's sculpture collection has gained a great reputation across the globe, so it must be attractive for Toyofuku to be represented in our city." And so he was. On June 4, 1965, City Hall approved the acquisition of the sculpture. Toyofuku's "tree" was completed and brought to Rotterdam ten months later. The sculpture found its rightful place in the corner of the foyer on the first floor, facing the Karel Doormanstraat.