Coppola, Gormley Head $151,000 Praemium Imperiale Winners

Film director Francis Ford Coppola and sculptor Antony Gormley are among the five winners of this year’s Praemium Imperiale, an arts prize that’s worth 15 million yen ($151,000) to each recipient, organizers said today.

The three other winners are Spanish opera singer Placido Domingo, British architect David Chipperfield, and Italian painter Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Patronized by Japan’s ruling dynasty and sometimes described as the Japanese Nobel, the Praemium Imperiale turns 25 this year. It is given annually to laureates in five categories: painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and theater/film.

“We all know about the early influence of Japanese art on Impressionism and post-Impressionism,” said Gormley at a media briefing in his London studio (designed by fellow laureate Chipperfield). “The traffic the other way has been equally extraordinary.”

Winners are invited to collect their trophies at a ceremony next month presided by Prince Hitachi, brother of Japan’s Emperor Akihito.

Past laureates include artists Bill Viola and Gerhard Richter, actresses Judi Dench and Sophia Loren, composers Philip Glass and Leonard Bernstein, directors Federico Fellini and Jean-Luc Godard, and architects Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano.

Gormley -- a British artist known for his monumental Angel of the North -- said he had traveled and worked extensively in Japan since 1984. Very early on in his career, he was “recognized by the kind of international eye that exists in so many local museums” in Japan, Gormley said.

Muse highlights include: Mark Beech on arts, Frederik Balfour on film, Jeremy Gerard on U.S. theater and Greg Evans on U.S. television.

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