Ikko left 120.000 works to the 'DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion' after his death. For the exhibition 163 of the 550 posters he created in the years between 1950 and 1970 were chosen. Spanning 20 of the 50 years Tanaka has had an active part in establishing Japanese design in and outside Japan. Raised in ancient Nara and later living in Kyoto, the traditions and rich culture of his surroundings had a great effect on Tanaka's work. Mixing traditional aesthetics with contemporary elements was one of his trades, along with his view on typography and new ways of printing.
Ikko was allied to gallery 'ddd' where the exhibition was held. He designed their corporate identity (seen bottom left, which shows the brochure for gallery 'ddd' in Osaka and sister gallery 'ggg' in Tokyo). Gallery ddd has a small, but very pleasant exhibition space, a library, and exhibition books for sale at the reception. For instance the two books with the collected works of Ikko Tanaka. His early works, from 1935-1979 and his later works from 1980-2002. Respectively showing 163 and 150 of his works in full colour, English copy.
Galleries, or museums, focusing on graphic design are sparse in the world, so 'ddd' and 'ggg' should be cherished. Over the last 25 years they brought the world a 100 unique exhibitions with Japanese and international graphic artists alike. A book was published with an overview of those 100 showing an exemplary work from each of the artists. Names like Paul Rand, Kazumasa Nagai, Saul Bass, Bruno Munari, Katsumi Asaba, Makoto Nakamura, K2, Studio Dumbar (Dutch), Paul Davis, Ryohei Kojima, Paula Scher, John Maeda, Neville Brody, and Raymond Savignac are amongst them. An impressive line up, Tanaka not the least amongst his peers.
I would like to thank the staff of Gallery ddd for their friendliness and providing me with two wonderful books for this article. I am very grateful, どうもありがとうございました.
Poster design for this exhibition by Kazumasa Nagai.