KEY HIRAGA Japanese, 1936-2000

Key Hiraga’s vibrant “Pop” paintings are as fresh today as when they were painted. Combining a contemporary palette with traditional Japanese techniques, Hiraga’s provocative, exuberant canvases explore a world laced with erotic joie de vivre.


Born in Tokyo in 1936, Hiraga divided his career between Japan and Europe. Selected for the First Asian Young Artists Exhibition in 1957, his work created a sensation amongst Japanese and International critics. In 1964 he was awarded the New Artist Prize at the National Exhibition, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum and also was granted the Grand Prix to study in Paris.


Lauded by William Lieberman, curator of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, his work was added to the collection and in 1965 included in the ground breaking exhibition New Japanese Painting and Sculpture which toured eight US museums between 1965 and 1967.


Throughout his career, Hiraga’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout Europe and Japan. In 2000, shortly before his death, the Hiraga Key Museum was established near his home in Hakone Yumote in honour of this fascinating artist’s life work.