Kenjilo Nanao papers, circa 1885-2017, bulk 1970-2000
This site provides access to the papers of Kenjilo Nanao in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2022, and total 19,951 images.
Ryan Evans and Rihoko Ueno
Scope and Contents
The papers of California-based painter and educator Kenjilo Nanao measure 10.9 linear feet and date from circa 1885-1887 and circa 1949-2017, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1970 to 2000. The papers document Nanao's career through biographical material; correspondence with friends, family, artists, universities, and museums; journals; professional files such as teaching files, gallery records and financial records; printed materials, photographs, sketchbooks and drawings.
Biographical material includes address books, forms of international identification, travel documents, and interviews in the form of written typescripts and digital audio recordings.
Correspondence is between Kenjilo Nanao and friends, family, and other artists in both English and Japanese. Notable correspondents include John and Kati Casida, William Hyland, Fumiyo and Jun Kaneko, son Max Nanao, Nathan Oliveira, Mel Ramos, and others. There are also several journals of letter drafts by Kenjilo Nanao. This series also includes letters addressed to Nanao's wife Gail from various individuals.
There are numerous journals which contain entries on daily activities, but also include Kenjilo Nanao's thoughts on art, to-do lists, and some sketches in watercolor and charcoal. Later journals are titled and dedicated to specific travels abroad.
Professional files include appointment books, teaching files from California State University at Hayward, studio documents, assorted ledgers, and lithography course materials.
Printed material includes exhibition announcements and catalogs, clippings, magazines, posters, books written in Japanese, and other miscellaneous materials.
Photographs depict Nanao's family and friends, with a few images of artwork and exhibitions, and one small album of photographs of a house and neighborhood in Japan.
The artwork series mostly consists of sketchbooks, as well as some loose drawings and watercolors.
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.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and the Alice L. Walton Foundation.
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Ryan Evans in 2019. The collection was fully processed, prepared for digitization, and described in a finding aid by Rihoko Ueno in 2021 with funding provided by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and the Alice L. Walton Foundation.
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