Kenjiro Nomura, American Modernist
An Issei Artist’s Journey
- PUBLISHED: November 2021
- SUBJECT LISTING: Art History / Asian American Art, Asian American Studies, Pacific Northwest / History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 192 Pages, 8.5 x 11 in, 156 color illus.
- ISBN: 9780998911236
- Publisher: Cascadia Art Museum
Born in Japan, acclaimed Seattle artist Kenjiro Nomura (1896–1956) came to the United States as a child of ten, received artistic recognition by age twenty, and in the 1930s became the best-known artist of Japanese descent in the Northwest, his artwork widely exhibited regionally and nationally. Along with more than one hundred thousand Japanese Americans from the West Coast, Nomura was incarcerated during the war but continued to paint, leaving a visual record grounded in place and circumstance. In postwar years he developed a new abstract style that brought him recognition once again. In Kenjiro Nomura, American Modernist, Barbara Johns presents Nomura’s life and artistic achievement within their historical context. Her account depicts Seattle as a stronghold of prewar Issei artistic activity, and Nomura’s work as providing a meaningful contribution to the history of American art. The book is generously illustrated with artwork tracing Nomura’s entire career. David F. Martin, curator of the Cascadia Art Museum, expands the context of Nomura’s accomplishment with an account of the artists with whom Nomura associated. This publication is distributed for the Cascadia Art Museum.
Authors & Contributors
Barbara Johns is a Seattle-based art historian and curator. Her previous books include Signs of Home: The Paintings and Wartime Diary of Kamekichi Tokita and The Hope of Another Spring: Takuichi Fujii, Artist and Wartime Witness. Gail M. Nomura is associate professor emerita of American ethnic studies at the University of Washington. David F. Martin is curator at the Cascadia Art Museum.
"Kenjiro Nomura... restores him to his place in art history and provides an important lssei artist viewpoint of the wartime incarceration in images."- Densho
"This dynamic book furthers Johns’s important contributions to scholarship on American art history."- Stephen H. Sumida, professor emeritus, University of Washington
"Johns has brought Kenjiro Nomura out of the shadows, powerfully demonstrating his development as an American artist and his central engagement with midcentury modernism."- Greg Robinson, author of The Unsung Great: Stories of Extraordinary Japanese Americans