2001 – Teruko Yokoi (J)

"Dressed in bright scarlet, little poppies smile at me innocently like adorable infants…."

The red poppy which blooms in summer meadows has long been a feature of Teruko Yokoi's painting. Her many pictures, filled with light and showing those scarlet blossoms, often form a border for the Impressionistic comments and poems she writes on the subject of that flower. In essence, her statement, "My paintings are poems written in colour. Nature provides the theme", describes all her work of the last few decades. Her pictures, which sometimes have a touch of melancholy about them but are usually bright and cheerful, can be seen as depictions of landscapes and flowers, and bear witness to her great poetic and emotional sensitivity.

Teruko Yokoi has loved painting since early childhood. Soon after the Second World War she took private lessons in Tokyo from the famous Impressionist T. Kinoshita. She moved to the USA in 1953 and attended the famous California School of Fine Arts. Here her painting changed, as she herself says, from an objective and Impressionistic to an abstract style. This change of direction was further reinforced by her studies after 1955 with Hans Hofmann, and with Julian Levi at the Art Students' League, both her teachers being based in New York. She subsequently spent short periods of time in Paris and Tokyo, and has lived and worked in Berne since 1962. She is now a Swiss citizen, and has made her mark in artistic circles in Switzerland too.

In her works, her professional development leads to the mutual interpenetration of different cultures, stylistic tendencies and techniques. However, her pictures are still shaped by the rich tradition of Japan, manifest in the depiction of atmosphere in the rhythm of daily life and the seasons, which is taken as an essential criterion of poetry and painting and is often expressed in a combination of words and visual images.


Since 1950 her lyrical pictures have won her wide recognition in over sixty one-woman exhibitions, and many individuals and institutions have become collectors of her work.

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