Kenjiro Nomura - "Pier Study 2" - C.1947
Oil on paper
15" x 17.75" Framed
9" x 12" Unframed
Kenjiro Nomura (1896-1956) - Nomura was born in Gifu, Japan and moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1907. He studied with the Dutch-American painter Fokko Tadama (1871-1935) who created an art school in Seattle beginning in 1913. Nomura worked regularly during the period of 1915 through the 1940’s in oil and watercolor and worked as an easel painter for the Public Works of Art Project in 1933/34. He first gained attention in the 1920’s through the Northwest Annuals of the Seattle Fine Arts Society and was the first regional artist to have a solo exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum when it opened in 1933. Nomura’s paintings reflect the American Scene, depicting urban and rural landscapes painted in a bold, expressive style influenced by diverse artists such as Charles Burchfield and Paul Cezanne.
After building a substantial reputation in Seattle, he exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Oakland Art Museum, the National Exhibitions of American Art, Rockefeller Center, NYC, the Denver Art Museum and in Chicago. In 1942, Nomura, along with his wife and son, were placed in detention centers in Puyallup, Washington and later at Minidoka, in Idaho. While there, he produced paintings and drawings of the internment camp and its activities.
After WWII, Nomura suffered great personal hardships, financially as well as emotionally, following his wife’s suicide in 1946. The following year, he resumed his painting career, concentrating on expressionism and abstraction. One of his major paintings was exhibited at the Biennal de Sao Paulo in 1955.
A retrospective of his work was held at the Seattle Art Museum in 1960. In recent years, his work has been included in traveling exhibitions such as Scenes of American Life, Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and The View From Within, Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps, 1942-1945 and 1934: A New Deal for Artists. Cascadia Art Museum is planning a major exhibition of Nomura’s work with an accompanying catalogue scheduled for 2021.
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