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Emiko Nakano
(1925 - 1990)

Bay Area Landscape,

d. 1952
Oil on canvas
34" x 40"

San Francisco Art Association
San Francisco Museum of Art

Additional Paintings
View #3B Bay Area
Amache, CO. Relocation Center

Crystal City Family Internment Camp

Emiko Nakano (1925 - 1990)

Born in 1925 in Sacramento, California, and raised in Chico, California.

During WWII in 1943, the family was interned at the relocation center in Colorado and later moved to Crystal City Internment Camp in Texas, where she could continue her painting, producing oil landscapes of the camp. The family eventually moved to Richmond, California, as told by Barbara Nakano (Emiko Nakano’s sister) to David Carlson, who handled Emiko’s artwork in her estate
 for the family.


Emiko Nakano, A first-generation student, studied at the California School of Fine Arts from 1947 to 1951 under Clyfford Still, Richard Diebenkorn, James Budd Dixon, Edward Corbett, Hassel Smith, and Elmer Bischoff. Nakano also studied art history at the University of California during the summer of 1949 under Laslo Moholoy-Nagy.  In the summer of 1952, she studied at Mills College Art Museum Summer Sessions. The Mills College Art Museum played a significant role in the introduction of European modernist artists and their practices to the San Francisco Bay Area during the period surrounding World War II. From 1933 to 1952, under the direction of the noted German art historian Alfred Neumeyer, the Mills College Art Museum participated in the “Summer Sessions,” a series of classes and workshops in which distinguished contemporary European, Latin American, and American artists were invited to the College to teach and exhibit work.

Emiko’s early work (1950-1952) was influenced by Richard Diebenkorn’s modernist landscapes of Bay Area scenes; she gradually evolved into abstraction from 1953 forward. Her oil painting, Alcatraz, with Angel Island in the background and the San Francisco waterfront in the foreground, was the view from her flat on Bay Street. Her paintings and prints were exhibited widely during the 1950s and included in important exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1952 and the 1953 III Biennial in Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Solo Exhibitions

1955:  Richmond Art Center, two-person exhibition with Clayton Pinkerton. 

2014–2015:  Cross the Bridge: Emiko Nakano – Abstract Landscapes, Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, California

Selected Group Exhibitions

Staempli Gallery, New York 

San Francisco Art Association Annuals at the San Francisco Museum of Art, 1951, 52, 53, 54 and Open Members Exhibition, 1958 

San Francisco Woman Artists, 1952, 53 

Richmond Art Center, 1951, 52, 53 

California State Fair, 1951, 52, 53 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1952

San Francisco 6th Art Festival 1952; de Young Museum, 1953

III Biennial, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Long Beach Museum of Art

Second West Coast Biennial 1952

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Stanford University Museum and Art Gallery 1954 


Susan Landauer, The San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism, U. C. Press

Jeffrey Wechsler, Asian Traditions, Modern Impressions, Rutgers University

San Francisco Art Association (Institute) Catalog of the Art Bank 1958, 1962

Chang, Gordon H.; Johnson, Mark Dean; Karlstrom, Paul J.; Spain, Sharon (2008). Asian American Art history, 1850 - 1970, Stanford, California 

Stanford University Press

Marter, Joan (2016-01-01).  Women of Abstract Expressionism, Yale University Press, p 187

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