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Oral history interview with Ruben Torres-Llorca, 1998 January 31

Interviewee:
Torres Llorca, Rubén, 1957-  Search this
Torres Llorca, Rubén, 1957-  Search this
Interviewer:
Martínez, Juan A  Search this
Subject:
Bedia, José  Search this
Rodríguez Brey, Ricardo  Search this
Instituto Superior de Arte (Cuba)  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Topic:
Artists -- Florida -- Miami -- Interviews  Search this
Latino and Latin American artists  Search this
Expatriate artists -- Florida -- Miami -- Interviews  Search this
Art, Cuban  Search this
Cuban American art  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Florida -- Miami  Search this
Cuban American artists  Search this
Theme:
Latino and Latin American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13547
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)216458
AAA_collcode_torres98
Theme:
Latino and Latin American
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_216458
Online Media:

Kamekichi Tokita Papers, circa 1900-circa 2010, bulk 1900-1948

Creator:
Tokita, Kamekichi, 1897-1948  Search this
Tokita, Kamekichi, 1897-1948  Search this
Subject:
Callahan, Kenneth  Search this
Tokita, Shokichi  Search this
Tokita, Elsie  Search this
Baker, Burt Brown  Search this
Boynton, Roy  Search this
Art Institute of Seattle  Search this
Seattle Art Museum  Search this
Hotel Cadillac  Search this
Henry Art Gallery  Search this
Public Works of Art Project  Search this
Minidoka Relocation Center  Search this
Type:
Photograph albums
Photographs
Sketches
Scrapbooks
Diaries
Topic:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Japanese Americans  Search this
Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945 -- Diaries  Search this
Asian American art  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American art  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Asian American painters  Search this
Art, American -- Northwestern States  Search this
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- Washington (State) -- Seattle  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Northwestern States  Search this
Theme:
Asian American  Search this
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)10444
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213849
AAA_collcode_tokikame
Theme:
Asian American
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_213849
Online Media:

Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art records, 1973-1988

Creator:
Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art  Search this
Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art  Search this
Subject:
Smith, Robert Lewis  Search this
Spence, Judy  Search this
Marks, Ben  Search this
Plagens, Peter  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Photographs
Slides (photographs)
Topic:
Sculptors  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Photographers  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- California, Southern -- Exhibitions  Search this
Art centers -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Theme:
Latino and Latin American  Search this
Communities, Organizations, Museums  Search this
Photography  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)5495
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211797
AAA_collcode_losangin
Theme:
Latino and Latin American
Communities, Organizations, Museums
Photography
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211797
Online Media:

Minutes of meeting of Group of 8, 1919 Dec. 31

Creator:
Gussow, Bernard, 1881-1957  Search this
Gussow, Bernard, 1881-1957  Search this
Subject:
Bouché, Louis  Search this
Maurer, Alfred Henry  Search this
Stella, Joseph  Search this
Weber, Max  Search this
Zorach, William  Search this
Exposition d'artistes de l'école Américaine  Search this
Topic:
Art, American -- Exhibitions  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Theme:
American Art and Artists in a Global Context  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)10580
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)214056
AAA_collcode_gussbern
Theme:
American Art and Artists in a Global Context
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_214056

Kamekichi Tokita Papers

Creator:
Tokita, Kamekichi  Search this
Names:
Art Institute of Seattle  Search this
Henry Art Gallery  Search this
Hotel Cadillac (Seattle, Wash.)  Search this
Minidoka Relocation Center  Search this
Public Works of Art Project  Search this
Seattle Art Museum  Search this
Baker, Burt Brown  Search this
Boynton, Roy  Search this
Callahan, Kenneth, 1905-1986  Search this
Tokita, Elsie  Search this
Tokita, Shokichi  Search this
Extent:
1.5 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photograph albums
Photographs
Sketches
Scrapbooks
Diaries
Date:
circa 1900-circa 2010
bulk 1900-1948
Summary:
The scattered personal papers of Seattle area painter Kamekichi Tokita (1897-1948) measure 1.5 linear feet and date from circa 1900 to circa 2010 with the bulk of the material dating from circa 1910 to 1948. The papers include biographical materials, including documents about the closing of the War Relocation Authority's Minidoka Camp in Idaho; correspondence; three diaries written in Japanese documenting Tokita's war time experiences and relocation to Minidoka, two earlier notebooks, also written in Japanese, and scattered notes; a few personal business records; printed materials; one scrapbook; sketches; and one family photograph album.
Scope and Contents:
The scattered personal papers of Seattle area painter Kamekichi Tokita (1897-1948) measure 1.5 linear feet and date from circa 1900 to circa 2010 with the bulk of the material dating from circa 1910 to 1948. The papers include biographical materials, including documents about the closing of the War Relocation Authority's Minidoka Camp in Idaho; correspondence; three diaries written in Japanese documenting Tokita's war time experiences and relocation to Minidoka, two earlier notebooks, also written in Japanese, and scattered notes; a few personal business records; printed materials; one scrapbook; sketches; and one family photograph album.

Biographical materials include a file on the Public Works of Art Project, a file on the War Relocation Authority and the closing of the Minidoka internment camp, an immigration document, and an essay on Tokita written by Shokichi and Elsie Tokita.

Correspondence is primarily professional in nature and concerns exhibitions at the Seattle Museum of Art (previously the Art Institute of Seattle) and other topics. Correspondents include Burt Brown Baker, Roy Boynton, Kenneth Callahan, Henry Gallery, the Seattle Art Museum, and others.

Tokita's writings consist of three diaries, two notebooks, and scattered general writings, most of which are in Japanese. The diaries were kept during World War II and document the family's confinement at the Minidoka Relocation Camp in Idaho. Included is a transcript of the diaries which were translated from prewar to modern Japanese by Haruo Takasugi and from modern Japanese to English by Naomi Kusunoki-Martin.

Scattered business records include a patent application, records from the Cadillac Hotel, and a claim filed through the Department of Justice. A few published books in English and Japanese are about art and religion. Also found are exhibition catalogs for shows in which Tokita participated and clippings. There is one mixed media scrapbook about Tokita's exhibitions.

Artwork consists of unsigned pencil and watercolor sketches by Tokita. There is also a family photo album containing snapshots and portraits of the Tokita family and friends.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 8 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1934-1985 (Box 1; 4 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1920-1944 (Box 1; 6 folders)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1923-circa 1950 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 4: Personal Business Records, 1928-1950 (Box 1; 3 folders)

Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1910-1940 (Box 1-3; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 6: Scrapbook, 1929-1933 (Box 2-3; 0.1 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1910-1940s (Box 2-3; 0.1 linear feet)

Series 8: Photograph Album, circa 1900-1930 (Box 2; 0.2 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Kamekichi Tokita (1897-1948) was a Japanese American painter and businessman who emigrated from Japan in 1919 and settled in Seattle, Washington. Tokita was a member of the Seattle area progressive artists' collective known as the "Group of Twelve" and widely exhibited his artwork throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Kamekichi Tokita was born in Shizouka City, Japan and immigrated to the United States at the age of twenty-two. He settled in the Japantown neighborhood of Seattle, Washington where he opened the Noto Sign Company with business partner Kenjiro Nomura. Nomura was also an artist and encouraged Tokita's interest in oil painting. They both used the sign shop as their studio after-hours. In 1936, the Noto Sign Company closed and Tokita took over management of the Cadillac Hotel, although he continued to paint commercial signs. Tokita married Haruko Suzuki in 1932 and together they had eight children.

As a child in Japan, Tokita studied calligraphy in China. Although he attended a few art school classes in in the U.S. and went on weekend painting trips with Nomura and other Seattle artists, Tokita is considered to be a largely self-trained artist. Support and recognition came from Dorothy V. Morrison of the Henry Gallery at the University of Washington who wrote to Tokita to inquire whether a "group of Japanese artists in the city" would be interested in exhibiting their work. Although the exhibition of Japanese artists did not happen, Tokita later loaned paintings to the gallery for inclusion in an exhibition sponsored by the American Federation of Arts. Throughout the late 1920s and 1930s Tokita exhibited widely in the Seattle area. In 1935, the Seattle Daily Times touted the work of Tokita and other painters in the "Group of Twelve" that also included Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan, Walter F. Isaacs, and Ambrose and Viola Patterson, among others. In 1942, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Kamekichi Tokita and his family (five children at the time), along with the 110,000 – 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-American citizens living on the West Coast, were ordered under President Franklin Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 to relocate to one of several confinement camps. For the first six months of their confinement, the family lived at a temporary Civilian Assembly Center in Puyallup, Washington. They were transferred to the Minidoka Relocation Camp in Hunt, Idaho where they remained until their release in 1945. The confinement camps were organized much like communes and independent cities (fenced and guarded) where the residents were self-reliant for most of their basic necessities, including schooling. While interned in Minidoka, Tokita worked as a sign painter and continued to privately paint, using whatever materials he could find, including beaver board. His work was featured in art shows at the camp. Many of his camp scenes are now lost or were given away.

At the end of World War II, Tokita and his family (now seven children) moved back to the Seattle-area. Unable to find housing, the Tokitas lived at a Japanese language school until Tokita was able to re-establish his business. During this period he painted very little. In 1946 Tokita and his wife purchased the New Lucky Hotel in the Chinatown area of Seattle. Shortly thereafter, Tokita fell ill and died in 1948. Many of his works are believed to have been destroyed or lost. Some of his work remains, however, and is among the permanent collections of the Seattle Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum.

Note: Much of this biographical note was taken from "A Biographical Resume" written by Shokichi and Elsie Y. Tokita.
Separated Materials:
A watercolor painting on paper by Kamekichi Tokita, Untitled (Still Life), 9 x 12 in. was transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2012.
Provenance:
The Kamekichi Tokita papers were donated by his son, Shokichi Tokita in 1990. He donated a third and final diary in 2017. They were collected as part of the Archives of American Art Northwest Asian American project in Seattle, Washington.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Painters -- Washington (State) -- Seattle  Search this
Topic:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Japanese Americans  Search this
Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945 -- Diaries  Search this
Asian American art  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American art  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Asian American painters  Search this
Art, American -- Northwestern States  Search this
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- Washington (State) -- Seattle  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Northwestern States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photograph albums
Photographs
Sketches
Scrapbooks
Diaries
Citation:
Kamekichi Tokita papers, circa 1900-circa 2010, bulk circa 1910-1948. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.tokikame
See more items in:
Kamekichi Tokita Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-tokikame

Oral history interview with Ruben Torres-Llorca

Interviewee:
Torres Llorca, Rubén, 1957-  Search this
Interviewer:
Martínez, Juan A.  Search this
Names:
Instituto Superior de Arte (Cuba)  Search this
Bedia, José, 1959-  Search this
Rodríguez Brey, Ricardo, 1955-  Search this
Extent:
133 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
1998 January 31
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Ruben Torres-Llorca conducted 1998 January 31, by Juan A. Martínez, in Torres Llora's home/studio, Miami, Florida, for the Archives of American Art.
Torres Llora discusses his early interest in art; his father, whom he never met, who was a talented commercial artist; studying art at San Alejandro Academy of Art, Havana and fellow students Jose Bedia and Ricardo Rodriguez Brey; graduate studies at Havana's Instituto Superior del Arte; participating in the "Volumen I" exhibition in 1981; travels to Mexico, where he began sculpture and installations; returning to Cuba and curating exhibitions of younger artists; moving to Buenos Aires, Mexico City, and since 1993, Miami; artistic influences, including literature, anthropology, sociololgy, film, and other disciplines on him; his mixed media figurative objects of the 1990s which tell a narrative, are socially oriented, and at best, provide a shared experience for the viewer.
Biographical / Historical:
Ruben Torres-Llorca (1957-) is a Cuban born painter and sculptor in Miami, Florida.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 6 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics, and administrators. Funding for this interview provided by Smithsonian Institution's Latino Pool Fund.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Artists -- Cuba  Search this
Topic:
Artists -- Florida -- Miami -- Interviews  Search this
Latino and Latin American artists  Search this
Expatriate artists -- Florida -- Miami -- Interviews  Search this
Art, Cuban  Search this
Cuban American art  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Florida -- Miami  Search this
Cuban American artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.torres98
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-torres98

Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art records

Creator:
Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art  Search this
Names:
Marks, Ben  Search this
Plagens, Peter  Search this
Smith, Robert Lewis  Search this
Spence, Judy  Search this
Extent:
18.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound recordings
Photographs
Slides (photographs)
Date:
1973-1988
Summary:
The records of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art measure 18.9 linear feet, date from 1973 to 1988, and document the brief thirteen-year history of LAICA's activities as a Southern California visual arts organization and exhibition space for contemporary art. Records detail the founding of the organization, operations and administration, exhibitions, events, and publications. More than half of the collection is comprised of exhibition, program, and event files that include correspondence with artists, curators, and others; printed materials; and photographs, negatives, and slides. There is a 0.9 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2021 that includes slides; performance and exhibition notes and supplements; newsletters and other printed material; a chronology of exhibitions, projects, publications and activities. Materials date from 1974- 1987.
Scope and Content Note:
The Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art records measure 18.9 linear feet, date from 1973 to 1988, and document the founding of the organization, board activities, general operations and administration, exhibitions, programs, events, and publications. There is a 0.9 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2021 that includes slides; performance and exhibition notes and supplements; newsletters and other printed material; a chronology of exhibitions, projects, publications and activities. Materials date from 1974- 1987.

Founding documents and Board of Director's files contained in the collection include the articles of confederation, by-laws, constitution, director's reports, board meeting minutes, and scattered correspondence of Peter Plagens and Judy Spence, both of whom served as Chair of the Board. These records detail the mission, organization, objectives, and goals of LAICA.

More than half of the records are comprised of exhibition, program, and event files covering LAICA's entire history of operation. Included are exhibition announcements and catalogs; correspondence with artists, curators, and organizers; press releases and other publicity; grant applications and proposals; and photographs, contact sheets, negatives, and slides which depict the exhibition's installation and works of art.

Two series of photographs and slides provide additional visual documentation of LAICA's exhibitions and events, including the installations and work of LAICA's Artists-in-Residence program. Slides depicting LAICA's buildings, offices, and staff activities are also found.

LAICA's production of its publications, including material related to their regular periodical, Journal, is well-documented through correspondence, manuscripts, and editorial files. Also found are unedited transcripts of interviews and material that was not used for publication. Meeting minutes and correspondence represent the activities of the publication committee from the mid 1970s to 1987.

The correspondence of LAICA directors Robert Smith (18 folders) and Ben Marks (one folder) contain information on almost all of the organization's activities, including exhibitions, events, funding, staffing, and general operations. General Operations files include Administrative Files and Financial Files that document members and donors, staff, financial activities, fundraising efforts, income, expenses, and grants.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 9 series.

Slides were separated from Series 1-6, and filed in Series 8 for better preservation housing.

Series 1: Board of Directors, 1973-1987 (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet )

Series 2: Correspondence, early 1970s-1987 (Boxes 1-2; 0.75 linear feet )

Series 3: General Operations, 1974-1988, undated (Boxes 2-3; 1.25 linear feet)

Series 4: Publicity, 1974-1986 (Box 3; 15 folders)

Series 5: Exhibitions and Programs, 1974-1987 (Boxes 3-13; 9.5 linear feet)

Series 6: Publications, 1974-1987 (Boxes 13-15; 2.75 linear feet)

Series 7: Photographs, mid-1970s-1983 (Box 15; 11 folders)

Series 8: Slides, 1974-1987 (Boxes 16-18; 3.0 linear feet)

Series 9: Unprocessed Addition, 1974-1987 (Boxes 19-21, 0.9 linear feet)
Historical Note:
The Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art was formed between 1973-1974 to provide a permanent exhibition venue for the visual contemporary arts in the Los Angeles area. The founding principle was to establish an arts organization that operated democratically and spoke with a multiplicity of voices. In order to remain flexible and minimize operating expense, LAICA did not establish a permanent collection.

Members of the Board of Directors included Peter Alexander, John Baldessari, Rosamund Felsen, Peter Plagens, Judy Spence, and other artists, gallery owners, and members of the art community. Committees that supervised exhibition programming and LAICA's published Journal were elected by members, and the duties of exhibition curator and periodical editor rotated among members, rather than being the responsibility of permanent staff. A registry of slides and biographical materials, begun in 1971, was open to submission by any Southern California artist. LAICA's first exhibitions were held in the fall of 1974, under founding director Robert Smith, a former curator at the Brand Library and Art Center in Glendale, California. The first issue of Journal was published in June of the same year.

LAICA's first exhibition space consisted of 4,200 square feet on the fifth floor of the Century City complex. During the mid-1970s, the organization hosted numerous exhibitions and events - all were were well attended, despite the lack of parking and restrooms. Exhibitions focused on a wide variety of contemporary painting, sculpture, decorative arts, fashion, performance art, video, music, architecture, social issues, and public art. Exhibitions were curated by both LAICA staff and guest curators, including Walter Hopps. Desiring to expand their space, LAICA had hopes of Frank Gehry redesigning the Century City space. The institute, however, was forced to relocate after losing their lease.

In March of 1977, LAICA reopened in an 8,000 square foot facility on 2020 South Robertson Boulevard. In addition to their public programming, the organization created an Artist-in-Residence program with funding made available by the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA). By the end of the 1970s, LAICA was flourishing with increased budget and staff, and, by 1980, opened a second exhibition space at 815 Traction Avenue, referred to as the "Downtown Gallery." An additional storefront exhibition space in the Eastern Columbia building was donated by State Senator Alan Sieroty.

A decrease in public funding in the early 1980s forced LAICA to cut some of its public programs. The organization, however, still staged ambitious exhibitions, including one of contemporary Italian art that traveled to nine different venues, and a show of nine contemporary Australian artists in connection with the 1984 Olympics Art Festival.

Robert Smith resigned from his position as director in early 1985. Ben Marks, the former director of the Center of Contemporary Art in Seattle, was hired that summer. By March of 1986, however, Marks had resigned and the Board of Directors decided to sell LAICA's South Robertson location. Faced with financial burdens and the lack of a permanent exhibition space, LAICA staged exhibits at temporary spaces around Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art officially closed in 1987 after thirteen years of operation.
Related Material:
Found in the Archives of American Art are the Peter Plagens papers, 1941-1987, which include meeting minutes and correspondence relating to LAICA.
Provenance:
The bulk of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art records were donated by Judy Spence, the former Chair of the LAICA Board of Directors, in 1986. Additional material was donated in 1997 by her husband, Stuart Spence and in 2021 by Robert Smith, founding director of LAICA.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Painters  Search this
Topic:
Sculptors  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Photographers  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- California, Southern -- Exhibitions  Search this
Art centers -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Photographs
Slides (photographs)
Citation:
Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art records, 1973-1988. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.losangin
See more items in:
Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-losangin
Online Media:

Yasuo Kuniyoshi papers

Creator:
Kuniyoshi, Yasuo, 1889-1953  Search this
Extent:
14.3 Linear feet
2.84 Gigabytes
14.3 Linear feet
2.84 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Date:
1906-2016
bulk 1920-1990
1906-2016
bulk 1920-1990
Summary:
The papers of artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi measure 14.3 linear feet and 2.84 gigabytes and date from 1906-2016, bulk 1920-1990. The collection documents his career as a painter, graphic artist, and photographer, as well as his involvement in political, social, and art organizations, especially during World War II. Included are biographical material; correspondence; writings and lectures by Kuniyoshi and others; organization records primarily on his participation in various associations and groups he was a member of; professional and gallery records regarding business dealings with American and Japanese galleries, museums, and dealers; exhibition files; printed material; four scrapbooks; artwork; photographs of Kuniyoshi and others in various locations and at events; and artwork records which mostly consist of photographs and provenance information. The collection also contains materials on Kuniyoshi's career and artwork obtained after his death by his widow Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi measure 14.3 linear feet and 2.84 gigabytes and date from 1906-2013, bulk 1920-1990. The collection documents his career as a painter, graphic artist, and photographer, as well as his involvement in political, social, and art organizations, especially during World War II. Included are biographical material; correspondence; writings and lectures by Kuniyoshi and others; organization records primarily on his participation in various associations and groups he was a member of; professional and gallery records regarding business dealings with American and Japanese galleries, museums, and dealers; exhibition files; printed material; four scrapbooks; artwork; photographs of Kuniyoshi and others in various locations and at events; and artwork records which mostly consist of photographs and provenance information. The collection also contains materials on Kuniyoshi's career and artwork obtained after his death by his widow Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi.

Biographical material consists of a wide range of records such as an address book, resumes, biographical summaries, vital records, citizenship applications, identification documents, travel records, and documentation regarding Kuniyoshi's death. There is some limited biographical material on the artist's widow, Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi, plus interviews with her talking about Kuniyoshi.

Correspondence is divided into correspondence with Yasuo Kuniyoshi and the correspondence with his second wife, Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi. The Yasuo Kuniyoshi correspondence discusses various topics including exhibits and his status as a Japanese American during World War II. The bulk of the series consists of correspondence with Sara after Yasuo's death and usually relates to exhibitions of his work, and reproduction requests for the inclusion of his work in publications. Of note is her correspondence with Alexander Brook, Ritsuko Ozawa, Tom Wolf, and the Yasuo Kuniyoshi Museum in Japan.

Writings and lectures include Kuniyoshi's writings and speeches about other artists, art and the art profession, lithography, and World War II. Also found are statements on his own work and extensive notes for his autobiography. There are two sound recordings of lectures by Kuniyoshi at art schools as well as writings by others, including Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi, about Yasuo Kuniyoshi.

Organization records document Kuniyoshi's involvement in social, political, and art organizations, including the East West Association and the Artists Equity Association. These records include correspondence, speeches, printed material and notes.

Gallery and professional records include material on Kuniyoshi's career and the sales of his work at galleries. Found herein are correspondence, printed material and notes. There are files on projects and commissions, transcripts of the radio broadcast "Japan Against Japan," appraisals of artwork, authentications of artwork, art inventories of his work at various galleries as well as private collections, and records of his participation in the Woodstock Art Conference. Also noteworthy are the records of Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi's dealings with the Downtown Gallery and Zabriskie Galleries.

Exhibition files include a few files on exhibitions while Yasuo Kuniyoshi was alive, but most of the series consists of files created by Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi about exhibitions of Kuniyoshi's works after his death in 1953. Files may include exhibition checklists and planning documents, loan agreements, correspondence, photographs of the exhibition, and press materials.

Printed material consists of books, newspaper, and magazine clippings about Kuniyoshi and about World War II. There are numerous exhibition catalogs and announcements and some magazines, posters, brochures, and bulletins.

There are four scrapbooks of printed material related to Kuniyoshi and his artwork. The scrapbooks contain press clippings, exhibition announcements, checklists, and a few catalogs.

Artwork consists of etchings, numerous sketches and drawings in graphite and ink, sketches painted onto clear acetate which Kuniyoshi used for catalogs, two zinc lithographic plates and their corresponding prints, and a sketchbook. Drawings that Yasuo Kuniyoshi created for the Office of War Information during World War II are in this series. There is one folder of pencil sketches by unidentified artists.

Photographic material are mostly photographs of Kuniyoshi in his studio, at various events and parties, teaching at Mills College and with his wife Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi. Also found are photographs of artists, including Francis Criss, Julian Levi, Doris and Russell Lee, and others, taken by Yasuo Kuniyoshi. Especially noteworthy, are photographs of the Artists Equity Testimonial Dinner held in honor of Kuniyoshi's 1948 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. There are some slides and snapshots of Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi's travels abroad and a the house in Woodstock she shared with Yasuo, along with other locations.

Artwork photograph records were created by Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi to document works of art created by her husband. Files mostly include photographs of artwork with annotations regarding title, date, sale, and provenance. Some files also include correspondence, notes by Sara Kuniyoshi, exhibition history, and published reproductions. There are also miscellaneous photographs and slides of artwork which mostly consist of duplicates of artwork that can be found in the rest of the series.
Arrangement:
This collection is arranged as 11 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1906-1998 (Box 1, ER01; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1931-2007 (Boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings and Lectures, 1939-2003 (Box 2; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 4: Organization Records, 1939-2003 (Box 3; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 5: Gallery and Professional Records, circa 1924-2009 (Boxes 3-5, OV 19; 2.1 linear feet)

Series 6: Exhibition Files, 1948-2004 (Boxes 5-6, OVs 19-20; 1.1 linear feet)

Series 7: Printed Material, 1921-2013 (Boxes 6-8, 14, OV 20 ; 2.1 linear feet)

Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1919-1978 (Boxes 8, 13, 15; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 9: Artwork, 1925-1991 (Boxes 8, 14, 16, OV 21-23; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 10: Photographic Material, circa 1920-2005 (Boxes 8-9, 16-17; 1.4 linear feet)

Series 11: Artwork Photograph Records, circa 1920s-2016 (Boxes 9-12, 17-18, OV 22; 3.8 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889-1953) was a Japanese-American painter, printmaker and photographer based in New York, N.Y.

Kuniyoshi was born in Okayama, Japan. In 1906 he came to the United States and a year later began studying at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design. In 1910 he moved to New York and took courses at the National Academy of Design, the Independent School of Art, and the Art Students League, where he studied with Kenneth Hayes Miller. He was married to fellow artist Katherine Schmidt from 1919 to 1932. After traveling throughout Europe, they moved to the Woodstock, New York, in 1927 and took part in the Woodstock Art Colony. Kuniyoshi studied and later taught at the Art Students League summer school there.

By 1930 Kuniyoshi had established himself as an internationally known painter and graphic artist. In 1935, he received a Guggenheim fellowship and married Sara Mazo. In New York City he taught at the Art Students League, the New School for Social Research, and served as the first president of the Artists Equity Association from 1947 to 1950. Kuniyoshi was active in social organizations, especially Japanese American organizations, such as the Japanese American Committee for Democracy. Although Kuniyoshi was barred from becoming a citizen due to American immgration laws at the time, he viewed himself as American and took an active role in the war effort during World War II, even working with the U.S. Office of War Information department to design posters.

The Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective for Kuniyoshi in 1948, making him the first living artist to be honored in such a fashion at the museum. Yasuo Kuniyoshi died of cancer in 1953 and was survived by his second wife Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi who preserved the legacy of his work.
Related Materials:
Also found at the Archives of American Art are the Yasuo Kuniyoshi photographs of artwork, a 1948 letter from Kuniyoshi to E. P. Richardson, and checklists of Yasuo Kuniyoshi prints.
Provenance:
The collection was donated in installments, from 1969 to 1995, by Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi, Yasuo Kuniyoshi's widow. Additional papers were donated in 2014 and 2018 by Stephen Diamond, Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi's nephew.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Photographers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Art, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Asian American art  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Political clubs  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Japanese Americans  Search this
Japanese American art  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Asian American painters  Search this
Asian American printmakers  Search this
Asian American photographers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Citation:
Yasuo Kuniyoshi papers, 1906-2016, bulk 1920-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.kuniyasu
See more items in:
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Archival Repository:
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EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kuniyasu
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