Sakari Suzuki


Name Sakari Suzuki
Born October 16 1899
Died March 9 1995
Birth Location Iwate, Japan
Generational Identifier

Issei

Oil painter and muralist Sakari Suzuki was born on October 16, 1899, in Iwate, Japan, and immigrated to the United States at age eighteen to join his father in California. From 1918-27, he lived in San Francisco. In 1924, he enrolled as a student at the California School of Fine Arts and before long, Suzuki began exhibiting frequently. His paintings were included in the Sangenshoku Ga Kai and Shaku-do-sha Association Joint Exhibition held at Kinmon Gakuen in San Francisco and Central Art Gallery in Los Angeles (1927), which also included work by Issei and Nisei artists Teikichi Hikoyama, Yotoku Miyagi, Koichi Nomiyama, and Kiyoo Harry Nobuyuki.[1] He exhibited landscapes, still lifes and a self-portrait at the San Francisco Art Association exhibits (1927-29).

By 1931, Suzuki had moved to the East Coast, working for the Works Progress Administration as a muralist. In 1936, he created a mural for the Willard Parker Hospital in New York City entitled "Preventative Medicine." Two years later, he was an instructor at the American Artists School in New York, where well-known WPA muralist Anton Refregier was also teaching. Suzuki was included in an exhibition of Japanese artists in New York at the ACA Gallery in New York in 1937, and an exhibition at the New Jersey College for Women in Newark in 1945. Because he lived on the East Coast, he avoided the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans on the West Coast. He was included in a post-war exhibition organized by the Japanese American Artists Group at the Riverside Museum in 1947 that included both artists who had resettled in New York from the concentration camps, such as Mine Okubo and Henry Sugimoto and those who spent the war years outside the restricted area, such as Suzuki and Taro Yashima. He had a solo show of oil paintings in New York in 1948.[2]

Following the war, he moved to Chicago, where he lived until his death in 1995 at the age of ninety-five.

Authored by Patricia Wakida

For More Information

Chang, Gordon H., Mark Dean Johnson, and Paul J. Karlstrom, editors. Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2008.

Footnotes

  1. Gordon H. Chang, Mark Dean Johnson, and Paul J. Karlstrom, editors, Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970'’ (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2008), 422.
  2. Pacific Citizen, June 14, 1947, 7 and Mar. 13, 1948, 5, both accessed on June 3, 2015 at http://www.pacificcitizen.org/digitalarchives/assets/images/full/PCN_19470614_007.jpg and http://www.pacificcitizen.org/digitalarchives/assets/images/full/PCN_19480313_005.jpg