A Finding Aid to the Kenjilo Nanao papers, circa 1885-1887, circa 1949-2017, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.nanakenj
Creators:
Nanao, Kenjirō, 1929-2013
Dates:
circa 1885-1887
circa 1949-2017
Languages:
Multiple languages
Collection is in English and Japanese.
Physical Description:
11.3 Linear feet
0.706 Gigabytes
Repository:
The Kenjilo Nanao papers measure 11.3 linear feet and date from circa 1885-1887 and circa 1949-2017, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1970 to 2000. Biographical material includes forms of international identification, travel documents, early academic writing on art, and interviews in the form of written typescripts and digital audio recordings. Correspondence is mostly personal between friends and family, in addition to a few folders of professional correspondence spanning Nanao's career. Correspondence drafts also appear as entries in bound journals. The Journals series includes bound journals of mixed content such as thoughts on art, to-do lists, and artwork in various media including watercolors and charcoal. Professional files include various professional portfolios that Nanao produced for the purpose of tenure review, a binder detailing relationships with various galleries, and various teaching materials and studio documents. Printed materials include exhibition catalogs, invitations, and clippings. Photographs are primarily of family and friends, with some images of artwork and exhibitions. Artwork includes sketchbooks, as well as some loose drawings and watercolors.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Kenjilo Nanao papers measure 11.3 linear feet and date from circa 1885-1887 and circa 1949-2017, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1970 to 2000. Biographical material includes forms of international identification, travel documents, early academic writing on art, and interviews in the form of written typescripts and digital audio recordings. Correspondence is mostly personal between friends and family, in addition to a few folders of professional correspondence spanning Nanao's career. Correspondence drafts also appear as entries in bound journals. The Journals series includes bound journals of mixed content such as thoughts on art, to-do lists, and artwork in various media including watercolors and charcoal. Professional files include various professional portfolios that Nanao produced for the purpose of tenure review, a binder detailing relationships with various galleries, and various teaching materials and studio documents. Printed materials include exhibition catalogs, invitations, and clippings. Photographs are primarily of family and friends, with some images of artwork and exhibitions. Artwork includes sketchbooks, as well as some loose drawings and watercolors.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged in 7 series:
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1960-circa 2017 (0.3 Linear Feet, .706 GB; Box 1, ER01)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1951-2013 (4.9 Linear Feet; Boxes 1-6)
  • Series 3: Journals, circa 1949-2013 (3.9 Linear Feet; Boxes 6-9, 12)
  • Series 4: Professional Files, circa 1967-2011 (1.0 Linear Feet; Box 10)
  • Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1885-1887, circa 1960-2010 (0.6 Linear Feet; Box 11)
  • Series 6: Photographic Material, circa 1960-2011 (0.1 Linear Feet; Box 11)
  • Series 7: Artwork, circa 1976-2010 (0.4 Linear Feet; Boxes 11-12)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Painter and printmaker Kenjilo Nanao (1929-2013), was born in Aomori, Japan, and graduated with a degree in economics in 1953 from Nihon University before immigrating to the United States to study art in the San Francisco Bay Area. He received a bachelor's degree from the California School of Fine Arts in 1963 as well as a masters of fine arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1971, where he studied under Nathan Oliveira and met his wife and fellow artist, Gail Chadell Nanao.
Kenjilo's primary artistic medium was lithography in which he became known for Surrealist minimal figurative compositions. Eventually he immersed himself in painting in an Abstract Expressionist style that became his main form of artistic production from the 1980s on. Nanao taught lithography and painting at California State University at Hayward from 1971-1990, and lectured at various other schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City, City of San Francisco, Pasadena Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum, Cincinnati Museum of Art, Honolulu Academy of Art, Gruenwald (University of California, Los Angeles), the Achenbach Foundation, and others.
Kenjilo Nanao died in Berkeley, CA in 2013 and is survived by his wife and son Max.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Ryan Evans in 2019.
Author
Ryan Evans
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Kenjilo Nanao papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2016 and 2018 by Gail Nanao, Kenjilo Nanao's widow.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Kenjilo Nanao papers, circa 1885-1887, circa 1949-2017. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
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.
Conditions Governing Access
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 born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Japanese Americans Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- California Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lithographers -- California Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/