Miyuki Tanobe

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Miyuki Tanobe
Born1937 (age 8384)
Nationality Japanese, Canadian
Alma materGuédaï University, école des beaux-arts de Tokyo, Japon; Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris, France; École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris
Known for painting, nihonga
Notable work
The Tin flute by Gabrielle Roy in 1983
Movement naive art
ElectedMember of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1994; Officer of the National Order of Quebec, 1995; member of the Order of Canada, 2002, medal-holder of the Ordre du Jubilée, 2002
Patron(s)Taru Tanabe, Seison Maeda, Roger Chapelain-Midy

Miyuki Tanobe (born 1937 in Morioka, Japan) is a Japanese-born Canadian painter, based in Montreal, Quebec. She is known for her paintings of the everyday life of Montreal residents. [1] Her work is in the collections of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée du Québec, Lavalin, Pratt & Whitney, and Shell Canada, and Selection du Reader’s Digest. She is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.


Early life and education

Tanobe was born in 1937 in Morioka, Japan. Because there was a violent snowstorm raging on the day she was born, her parents named her Miyuki, which means "deep snow". Tanobe attended Japanese primary and secondary schools.

In 1963, possessing incipient artistic gifts, she painted at the studio of 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. [2]


Miyuki Tanobe’s work reflects a freedom of action. She paints principally on rigid supports such as wood or masonite sheets. Her panels are filled with scenes that she has observed [3] like children playing ice hockey. [4]

Her modern primitive works depict everyday life in the working-class neighborhoods of Montreal with humour and great sensitivity. [5] She transforms "humble and unavoidable reality" by reformulating it, adding or deleting elements depending on her assessment of their contribution to the scene. A painting by Miyuki Tanobe goes to the heart of the matter: the artist is interested in opening the viewers' eyes so that they may better see the familiar and adjust their perceptions of what they think they know.

In 1980 Tanobe illustrates the song "Gens de mon pays" by Gilles Vigneault [6] and in 1983 she creates pictures for The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy. [7] The colours in Miyuki’s paintings are rich and full of contrast. Working with superimposed layers and applying pigments with her pliable, flexible Japanese brush, Miyuki Tanobe succeeds in revealing unexpected aspects of the objects and people she depicts without making them difficult to read. [8] She paints in Nihonga. [9]

She is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. [10]

In 2012 a mural was painted for Tanobe in Verdun. [11]


Her work is found in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, [12] Musée de Joliette, Musée Saidye Bronfman, Montréal.


In 1979, she was the subject of a National Film Board of Canada documentary short My Floating World: Miyuki Tanobe, directed by Ian Rankin, Stephan Steinhouse and Marc F. Voizard. [13]

Published Work / Illustrations

Further reading

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  1. Plourde-Arche, Léa. "A mural for Miyuki Tanobe, painter of street life in Montreal". Untapped Cities. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  2. http://untappedcities.com/2013/06/10/a-mural-for-miyuki-tanobe-painter-of-street-life-in-montreal/
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "Several Canadian painters have found hockey to be a nearly endless source of inspiration. They include Miyuki Tanobe" http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/edu/ViewLoitLo.do?method=preview&lang=EN&id=6733
  5. "Details in the painting [...] all testify to Tanobeʼs masterful depiction of the urban environment, especially of Montrealʼs working class neighborhoods" http://www.cusd80.com/cms/lib6/AZ01001175/centricity/domain/4092/Grade_2,_Lesson_2,_Tanobe.pdf
  6. Miyuki Tanobe, Gilles Vigneault, Les gens de mon pays, Montréal: Les éditions La courte échelle, 1980
  7. Léo Rosshandler, Miyuki Tanobe, Tanobe, LaPrairie, Quebec: Éditions M. Broquet, 1988, p. 28
  8. "The streets of Montréal and other Québec areas have provided colourful and captivating compositions for this artist, who has used scenes of daily life to chronicle working class Québec" http://www.umanitoba.ca/cm/cmarchive/vol13no3/quebecjetaime.html
  9. Mobilereference (2007). Asian Art. ISBN   9781605011875.
  10. "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  11. http://canadiens.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=83074
  12. "Miyuke Tanobe". www.collections.mnbaq.org. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  13. "My Floating World: Miyuki Tanobe". NFB.ca. National Film Board of Canada . Retrieved June 11, 2012.
  14. http://vimeo.com/52648756
  15. https://web.archive.org/web/20140225220750/http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM578754&R=578754
  16. "Québec Je T'aime / I Love You".
  17. http://www.worldcat.org/title/gens-de-mon-pays/oclc/15903357?ht=edition&referer=di
  18. http://www.worldcat.org/title/cybele/oclc/049115407
  19. Rosshandler, Leo; Tanobe, Miyuki (1980). Tanobe. ISBN   9782890000346.