Artwork by Matsumi Kanemitsu,  Untitled

Matsumi Kanemitsu

watercolour and ink on paper (diptych)
signed and dated 1977 upper left of the left segment; each sheet framed individually
39 x 28 ins ( 99.1 x 71.1 cms ) ( overall )

Sold for $1,500.00
Sale date: February 20th 2019

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Matsumi Kanemitsu
(1922 - 1992)

Matsumi Kanemitsu was born in Ogden, Utah in 1922. Raised in Japan by his grandparents, he returned to the U.S. in 1940, and enlisted in the army the next year. Following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour, Kanemitsu was arrested and placed in an internment camp. During his imprisonment, he began drawing with art supplies provided by the Red Cross. Once released, Kanemitsu served in Europe as a military hospital assistant, making his way to France following the war. There he trained under Fernand Leger and met several prominent artists including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. In 1949, Kanemitsu returned to the United States where he studied art in Baltimore. Kanemitsu then went to New York, studying at the Art Students League and immersing himself in the vibrant, post-war art scene of the 1950s. Becoming a frequent patron of the famous Cedar Bar, Kanemitsu befriended notable artists of the New York School, including Franz Kline, Ad Reinhardt, the poet Frank O’Hara and the critic Harold Rosenberg. His art work developed from ambiguous figurative works inflected with surrealism to gestural abstraction.

Kanemitsu settled in Los Angeles in the 1960s, creating distinctive works informed not only by Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, but also with Japanese sumi painting. He applied this array of techniques to the medium of printmaking, producing a major suite of lithographs in 1961 with the support of a Ford Foundation grant. This project was explored in the short documentary film “Four Stones for Kanemitsu”. Influential as an artist and educator, his distinctive paintings and prints can be found in numerous public and private collections around the world.