Manabu C. Saito, "Couroupita guianensis" (detail), watercolor, 1969.

The Tropical Paintings of Manabu Saito

Experience Manabu Saito’s passion for botanical art in this exhibition of watercolor paintings of tropical flora.

Oct. 22, 2023 – Feb. 25, 2024

For more than 60 years, Saito painted flowers and plants from his native Japan and from travels throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Mostly created at the Wilson Botanical Garden in Costa Rica, the paintings in this exhibit highlight Saito’s love for the striking beauty of tropical plants.


About the Artist

Originally from Tokyo, Manabu Saito received a degree in industrial design from Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute in 1957. After graduating, he worked as an industrial designer for companies including Sony and Nikon before dedicating himself to botanical illustration in the early 1970s. By the 1980s, Saito’s illustrations had been published in magazines, books, botanical guidebooks and on U.S. postage stamps. His work later appeared in solo exhibitions from Sydney to South Africa. For the last decade of his life, Saito resided in Tucson, Arizona, where he painted the Sonoran Desert until his death in 2018.     


The Tropical Paintings of Manabu Saito is on loan from the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

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