Nanae Momiyama papers, 1928-circa 2000, bulk 1948-1990s

A Finding Aid to the Nanae Momiyama Papers, 1928-circa 2000, bulk 1948-1990s, in the Archives of American Art, by Joy Weiner

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Table of Contents:

Biographical Information

Nanae Momiyama (1924-2002) worked in New York and Greenwich, Connecticut as a painter, calligrapher, and educator.

In 1924, Nanae Momiyama was born in Tokyo, Japan. In 1944, she graduated from Bunka Gakuin College in Tokyo, where she later taught painting and drawing. In 1954, under the sponsorship of the Japanese government, Nanae Moimiyama attended the Art Students' League in New York City, where she was mentored by the painter, Morris Kantor. During this period, Momiyama participated in exhibitions organized by the cooperative galleries on East Tenth Street in New York City that were promoting the works of Abstract Expressionist artists.

Nanae Momiyama's artistic interests extended to the teaching of Japanese calligraphy and Sumi-e paintings at colleges, universities, and art institutions, including the National Teacher's Convention for Asian Studies at Brooklyn College, Columbia University, and Japan Society. During her career, Momiyama received commissions to design posters for movies, plays, and concerts and to illustrate books and magazines. In addition, she wrote Sumi-e, An Introduction to Ink Painting that became a standard text on the subject.

Nanae Momiyama participated in many solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad: Brata Gallery, the Bruce Museum, Gima Gallery, Ligoa Duncan Gallery, and Seibu Galleries, among others.

Nanae Momiyama was a long time resident of Greenwich, Connecticut. She died in 2002.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of New York painter, calligrapher, and educator, Nanae Momiyama measure 3.0 linear feet and date from 1928-circa 2000, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1948-1990s. The collection traces Momiyama's career as a first wave post-World War II Japanese-American artist through biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, business records, printed material, scrapbooks, sketches and sketchbooks, and photographs.

Biographical material includes resumes, a graduation certificate, passports, artist's statements, a calendar of lectures, address books, miscellaneous biographical material, and a 1972 WGCH radio interview with Nanae Momiyama.

Correspondence is mostly professional and consists of incoming and outgoing letters with arts organizations, museums, and galleries, such as the Bruce Museum, the Japanese Artists'Association, Kenkeleba House, and the National Association of Women Artists. There is some personal correspondence from family and friends, including Yayoi Kusama and Johanna Secor.

Writings and notes contain writings and notes by Nanae Momiyama and others. Writings and notes mostly consist of drafts of lectures and press releases relating to Momiyama's class demonstrations on Sumi-e painting.

Business records include annotated painting lists, consignments, a loan agreement, a contract, and scattered receipts. Painting lists and sales receipts provide a detailed record of works sold by Nanae Momiyama from 1974-1987.

Nanae Momiyama's activities as an artist are well-documented through printed materials, including press releases, clippings, periodicals, exhibition invitations, announcements, and catalogs, periodicals, annotated checklists, and brochures. Also found is Momiyama's monograph on Sumi-e painting.

Five scrapbooks contain exhibition-related material, such as announcements, invitations, brochures, reviews, installation shots, and artwork. One scrapbook is of a more personal nature and includes notes, handmade holiday cards by the artist, and photographs of Momiyama's children.

Artwork comprises sketches, drawings, and graphic designs. Sketches are mostly studies for Nanae Momiyama's paintings. Also included are five sketchbooks; one sketchbook is devoted to Momiyama's calligraphy.

Photographs are of Nanae Momiyama and others, exhibition installations and artwork, miscellaneous photographs, and slides of artwork. Also found are six photograph albums of images of Nanae Momiyama with family, friends, and colleagues. Of interest, are two photograph albums depicting Nanae Momiyama's school life and social activities in Japan from 1928-1940s.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as 9 series:

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:


  • Calligraphers
  • Calligraphy, Japanese
  • Educators--New York (State)--New York
  • Japanese American artists
  • Women painters--New York (State)--New York


  • Japan

Types of Materials:

  • Drawings
  • Greeting cards
  • Interviews
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Sketchbooks
  • Sketches
  • Sound recordings


  • Kusama, Yayoi, 1929-
  • Secor, Johanna
  • Bruce Museum
  • Kenkeleba House
  • National Association of Women Artists (U.S.)


The collection was donated by Haniwa Gottlieb, Nanae Momiyama's daughter, in 2009.

How the Collection was Processed

The papers were processed by Joy Weiner in 2012.

How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Nanae Momiyama papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

How to Cite this Collection

Nanae Momiyama papers, 1928-circa 2000, bulk 1948-1990s. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1948-1995
(Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)

Numerous versions of Nanae Momiyama's revised and edited resumes provide an overview of her professional activities over a thirty year period. This series includes some awards and prizes received by Nanae Momiyama, including the Twenty-third Grand Prix International de Peinture; the Grand Prix Humanitaire de France, Musee d'Art Modern de Ville de Paris; and the Gold Medal from the Accademia Italia.

Files are arranged by subject and thereafter in chronological order.

Box Folder
1 1-2 Resumes, circa 1970s-1990s
(2 folders)
1 3 Graduation Certificate, Bunka Gakuin College of Fine Arts, 1954
1 4 Passports, 1953-1988
1 5 Admission to International House, undated, 1948-1960
1 6 Artist's Statements, circa 1990s
1 7 Calendar of Lectures and Interviews, 1980-1995
1 8 Awards, 1972-1985
1 9 Memberships, undated, 1983-1984
1 10-11 Address Books, undated, circa 1970s-1975
(2 folders)
1 12 Interview with Nanae Momiyama, 1972-1973
(2 sound tape reels)
1 13 Miscellaneous Biographical Material, 1954, 1981-1986

Series 2: Correspondence, 1953, 1970s-1993
(Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)

Correspondence includes letters, drafts, postcards, and greeting cards. Letters reference Nanae Momiyama's participation in various arts organizations, the scheduling of exhibitions and lecture demonstrations, as well as her commissioned projects. Much of the correspondence is in Japanese.

Files are arranged in chronological order.

Box Folder
1 14-19 Correspondence, undated, 1953, 1970s-1993
(6 folders)
1 20 Unidentified Correspondents, undated, 1959-1981
1 21 Loose Envelopes, undated, 1963-1985

Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1950s-1995
(Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)

This series includes writings and notes by Nanae Momiyama and by others. Included are Nanae Momiyama's drafts of her class presentations on calligraphy and Sumi-e painting.

The article on Nanae Momiyama's work by art critic Alfred Werner is unpublished.

Files are arranged by subject and thereafter filed in chronological order.

Box Folder
1 22 Typescripts of Presentations, circa 1950s-1970
1 23 Press Releases, circa 1970s-1980s
1 24 Research Notes, circa 1970
1 25 Miscellaneous Writings and Notes, undated, circa 1960s-1995
1 26 Drafts of Article on Nanae Momiyama's artwork, 1977

Series 4: Business Records, 1962-1987
(Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)

Business records include annotated painting lists. Found is Nanae Momiyama's agreement to promote a Yves Saint Laurent fragrance for Charles of the Ritz, Ltd. as part of the company's marketing campaign.

Files are arranged by subject and then chronologically.

Box Folder
1 27 Painting Lists, undated, 1974-1987
1 28 Consignments and Loan Agreement, 1975-1986
1 29 Contract with Charles of the Ritz Group, Ltd., 1982
1 30-31 Scattered Receipts, undated, 1962-1983
(2 folders)

Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1950s-1995
(Box 1; 0.8 linear feet)

Clippings, exhibition invitations, announcements, and catalogs trace Nanae Momiyama's exhibition history from the 1950s-1990s. There are a number of clippings from Japanese-American newspapers. Some checklists are annotated.

Printed material can also be found in Series 6: Scrapbooks.

Files are arranged by record type and filed thereafter in chronological order.

Box Folder
1 32 Press Releases, undated, 1958-1993
1 33-38 Clippings About Nanae Momiyama, 1958-1995
(6 folders)
39 Clippings, General, undated, 1956-1987
Box Folder
2 1 Unidentified Clippings in Japanese, circa 1950s-1995
2 2 Periodicals, undated, 1953-1970
2 3 Invitations, undated, 1953-1983
2 4-6 Announcements, undated, circa 1956-1995
(3 folders)
2 7 Exhibition Catalogs, undated, 1952-1983
2 8 Checklists, 1970-1992
2 9 Brochures, undated, 1953-1986
2 10 Reproductions of Artwork, undated, circa 1974-1978
2 11 Miscellaneous Printed Material, undated, circa 1950s-1991
2 12 Monograph, Sumi-E: An Introduction to Ink Painting, 1965

Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1948-1978
(Box 2; 0.3 linear feet)

There are five scrapbooks. Four scrapbooks were received disbound and the pages are brittle. Volume 5 includes notes, handmade holiday cards by the artist, and photographs of Momiyama's children, and miscellaneous items.

Printed material can also be found in Series 6: Scrapbooks.

Scrapbooks are arranged in chronological order.

Box Folder
2 13 Scrapbook 1, 1948-1953
(1 vol. disbound)
2 14 Scrapbook 2, 1950s
(1 vol. disbound)
2 15 Scrapbook 3, 1953
(1 vol. disbound)
2 16 Scrapbook 4, 1956-1977
(1 vol. disbound)
2 17 Scrapbook 5, 1962-1978
(1 vol. disbound)

Series 7: Sketches and Drawings, circa 1950s-1970s
(Box 2; 0.1 linear feet)

Sketches are done in ink, watercolor, and charcoal on paper and board, depicting mainly landscapes, flowers, and objects from nature, such as small insects and birds. Sketches include studies and finished drawings. Sketches are generally undated. Also included are Momiyama's logo design that was used on her stationery and exhibition announcements.

Sketches and Drawings can also be found in Series 9: Photographs.

Sketches are arranged in chronological order.

Box Folder
2 18 Sketches and Drawings, circa 1950s-1970s
2 19 Sketches and Drawings, 1962-circa 1970s
2 20 Sketches and Drawings, circa 1970s
2 21 Graphic Design Sketches, undated, circa 1970

Series 8: Sketchbooks, circa 1975-1997
(Box 2; 0.1 linear feet)

This series comprises 7 sketchbooks of sketches or studies done in ink, wash, and pencil. Three small sketchbooks contain mostly genre scenes and buildings.

Vol. 5 contains drawings by the artist after she suffered a stroke; most of the drawings are head studies and a few drawings are annotated.

Sketchbooks were arranged in chronological order.

Box Folder
2 22 Sketchbooks 1-3, circa 1975-1979
(3 vols.)
2 23 Sketchbook 4, undated, 1991
(1 vol.)
2 24 Sketchbook 5, "Nanae Momiyama, Post Stroke," 1997
(1 vol.)

Series 9: Photographs, 1928-circa 2000
(Box 3; 1.0 linear feet)

Most of the individuals and venues in photographs are unidentified. Included are photographs of Nanae Momiyama, wearing a traditional kimono and holding a Japanese calligraphic brush that were used for publicity purposes.

Included are six photograph albums; three albums were received disbound. Interspersed among the pages of the volumes 1 and 2 are sketches by Nanae Momiyama and loose photographs. Photograph albums also contain personal snapshots and photographs of Momiyama's paintings.

Photographs are arranged by subject and arranged in chronological order thereafter.

9.1: Photographs of Nanae Momiyama and Others, 1928-circa 2000

Box Folder
3 1-2 Nanae Momiyama, 1940s-circa 2000
(2 folders)
3 3-4 Nanae Momiyama with Family, Friends, and Colleagues, 1928-1990s
(2 folders)
3 5-6 Family, Friends, and Colleagues, circa 1940s-1980s
(2 folders)

9.2: Photographs of Exhibition Installations and Artwork, 1959-circa 1995

Box Folder
3 7 Exhibition Installations, undated, 1959-1993
3 8-11 Artwork, undated, 1972-circa 1995
(4 folders)
3 12 Transparencies, undated, 1968-1975

9.3: Miscellaneous Photographs, circa 1980s-1983

Box Folder
3 13 Nanae Momiyama Residence, Rye Brook, New York, circa 1980s
3 14 Unidentified Buildings, undated, 1983

9.4: Slides of Artwork, 1975-1995

Box Folder
3 15 Slides of Artwork, 1975-1979
3 16 Slides of Artwork, 1978-1995
3 17 Slides of Artwork, 1981-1987, 1995

9.5: Photograph Albums, 1938-circa 1990s

Box Folder
3 18 Vol. 1: Nanae Momiyama with Family and Friends, circa 1938-1940
3 19 Vol. 2: Nanae Momiyama with Family and Friends, undated, 1938-1943
3 20 Vol. 3: Nanae Momiyama with Family, Friends, and Colleagues, circa 1958-1970s
(1 vol. disbound)
3 21 Vol. 4: Nanae Momiyama with Family, circa 1970s-1980s
(1 vol. disbound)
3 22 Vol. 5: Nanae Momiyama with Colleagues and Students, circa 1980s-1990s
3 23 Vol. 6: Artwork, circa 1979
(1 vol. disbound)