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Daily Art Moment: Yasuo Kuniyoshi

“American painter Yasuo Kuniyoshi created portraits of women throughout his career. His early languid female figures and whimsical circus scenes drew on American folk art and his encounters with European art on two trips to Paris in the 1920s. But by the late 1930s, his earlier dreamy, sensuous girls are replaced with women alone, deep in thought. There is a tense quality to this painting. From the woman’s pensive expression to the deliberately distorted flatness of the chair in which she sits, a kind of taut psychological tension suffuses the work. Even the gray background seems restless, painted in a myriad of colors, brushstrokes at turns thin or thick on the canvas, swirling or jagged.”

Jeannie Kenmotsu, Japan Foundation Associate Curator of Japanese Art & Interim Head of Asian Art

Yasuo Kuniyoshi (American, born Japan, 1893–1953). Girl with an Accordion, 1941. Oil on canvas. Museum Purchase: Ella M. Hirsch Fund, 41.12 © artist or other rights holder

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