Suzuki Osamu, the son of a pottery wheel worker, trained in pottery throwing techniques by his father as a child. He began his career as a ceramicist in 1948 as one of the founders of the Kyoto-based Sōdeisha group, comprised of avant-garde makers dedicated to creating sculptural ceramics that broke away from traditional styles and methods. By the mid-50s, Osamu focused on non-functional work in porcelain and stoneware.
Members of the Sōdeisha group refused to submit their work to official exhibitions in order to avoid being judged on others’ criteria, and for their work to remain independent of ancient shapes and function.
The forms of Osamu’s works are inspired by animals, such as horses and birds, and natural phenomena, such as the wind and clouds. He left many of his works undecorated in order to emphasise their shape.
A pioneer of contemporary, abstract art in clay, Osamu received exceptional recognition throughout the world for his contribution to ceramics. In 1960, he was awarded a prize at the Japan Ceramic Society in Tokyo and in 1961, the Golden Prize at the International Pottery Exhibition in Prague. In 1970 he won the Golden Prize at La Biennale Internationale de Céramique Contemporaine in Vallauris and a year later, the Minister for Trade Prize at the International Pottery Exhibition in Faenza.
A retrospective of his ceramics held in 1999 toured five important Japanese museums, and his work has been acquired by many international public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.