Seattle artist and sculptor George Tsutakawa is most widely know for his fountain sculptures that can be seen around Seattle, across the country, and in Canada and Japan. He was a fine painter as well and won many honors, including awards from the Governor of Washington, the University of Washington, the City of Seattle, and the Emperor of Japan. He had solo exhibitions at the Seattle Art Museum, the Bellevue Art Museum, and UW's Henry Art Gallery, among others.

Born on Capitol Hill in Seattle in 1910, Tsutakawa went to live with his grandmother in Japan at the age of 7. There he learned Japanese culture, calligraphy, and arts. At the age of 17, his father "banished" him back to Seattle, disappointed that George wanted to become an artist rather than a businessman. He finished high school in Seattle, entering the University of Washington in 1932. Tsutakawa's talent was quickly recognized, and the Seattle Art Museum's Northwest Annual included his work when he was only a college freshman. He received a BFA (1937) and MFA (1950), and was a Professor in the School of Art from 1947 until his retirement in 1976, teaching in the School of Architecture as well. In 1997, Tsutakawa died in his home in Seattle at the age of 87. His son, Gerard Tsutakawa, has followed in his footsteps to become a well-known sculptor in his own right, and is responsible for "The Mitt" -- the sculpture in front of Seattle's Safeco Field.

We have two fine examples of Tsutakawa's watercolors in the Allen Center: Hurricane Ridge (1981), which can be seen on the 6th floor, and Beach Images (1950), which is on the 5th floor.


Woodside/Braseth Gallery, Seattle

HistoryLink Article

Archives of American Art interview

YouTube video: George Tsutakawa: An Artist's Pilgrimage, Simthsonian Archives of American Art


George Tsutakawa, by Martha Kingsbury. University of Washington Press, 1970.

Iridescent Light, by Deloris Tarzan Ament and Mary Randlett. University of Washington Press, 2002.

Art in the Allen Center