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Kenjilo Nanao papers, circa 1885-2017, circa 1949-2017, bulk 1970-2000

Biographical Note

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.