The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

Matsumi Kanemitsu

Matsumi Kanemitsu, Solitary, 1958

Matsumi Kanemitsu (American, 1922-1992)
Solitary 1958
Oil on canvas
Gift of Edward Joseph Gallagher, Jr.

Born in Utah, Kanemitsu spent his formative years in Japan. In 1941 he enlisted in the United States Army but after the attack on Pearl Harbor he was sent to a detention camp, as were 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry living in the United States, including 80,000 U.S. citizens. While detained he began his artistic practice, creating portraits with supplies donated by the Red Cross.

Solitary was painted during his decade in New York where many artists were exploring spontaneous and gestural approaches to art-making. In speaking about his work, Kanemitsu explained, “I want personal marks. Surface variations. Cubist and Oriental calligraphic space…Metamorphic effects.”