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Kenzo Okada

American, 1902-1982


Curating Works


Kenzo Okada was born in Yokohama, Japan in 1902, the son of a wealthy industrialist. He attended Tokyo Fine Arts University where he painted in traditional realist style. Okada went to Paris in 1924 and studied with fellow Japanese expatriate, Tsuguji Fugita. In 1927 Okadareturned to back to Japan. Kenzo Okada migrated to the United States in 1950 where he began to experiment in abstraction, with the style of Japanese still engrained. Okada showed at Betty Parson Gallery. Okada and his wife, Kimi, split time between Greenwich Village and Albany, New York. Okada became friends with Mark Rothko and many other Abstract Expressionist artists. Okada enjoyed working on several canvases at a time, wandering from one to another in bare feet. Okada leveraged a natural and organic process from spontaneity to paint his canvases. His work is included in the collections of MoMA, Metropolitan, Guggenheim, Whitney, Smithsonian, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Brooklyn Museum.