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 Carlos Nakatani  (1934 - 2004)

About: Carlos Nakatani


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     Known for: Painting, engraving, sculpture, film making, writing

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BIOGRAPHY for Carlos Nakatani
1934 (Mexico City)
2004 (Mexico City)


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Painting, engraving, sculpture, film making, writing

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born to a Mexican mother and a Japanese father, Carlos Nakatani was born in 1934 in the La Merced district of Mexico City.  Nakatani was a painter, engraver, sculptor and a cinematographer noted for his use of color.  His work is classified with that of the generation de la ruptura as it broke with the established tradition of the first half of the 20th century.

His Japanese father invented a snack called cacahuates japoneses (Japanese peanuts), which were originally sold in a La Merced market.  Later he established a Japanese market there, and today, this peanut snack remains popular in the Mexican capital
Nakatani was called "hermanito" (little Boy) by his artistic contemporaries especially Gilberto Aceves Navarro.  Carlos Nakatani was reclusive and ascetic eating only what he needed to live and bought very little.  While valuing his Latin heritage by enjoying the Mexican nightlife from 1950 to the 1970's he was more influenced by his Asian heritage
Nakatani's artistic career included writing, cinema and visual arts; he even created a black and white film and directed the 1967 drama about his father called Yoshio.  He also authored a few books; however, Nakatani was best known for his painting, and from 1956 to 1992 he exhibited his work individually and collectively in Mexico, United States, Cuba, Guatemala, France, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand as well as other countries.  His work is found in the permanent collections of the Palacio de Ballas artes and the national library in Paris. 

Although reclusive he nevertheless won a number of recognitions for his work and was a member of the Salon De La Plastica Mexicana.
He originally used only water-based pigments having been self taught,  then later, switched to oils.  His art work was characterized by its delicacy, sobriety and subtlety according to art critic Teresa Del Conde.  He mixed Mexican with Japanese influences.  His painting contains few human forms although humanity is suggested through his depictions of nature.
Nakatani married and fathered two children, both daughters, Mayra and Karla.  Mayra became an art dealer and Karla, an actress.

He died on February 2, 2004 at 70 years old after suffering a heart attack in his home.  Interestingly, he predicted his own death, telling Navarro, his life time friend, that his daughter would dedicate a theatrical performance to him after his death.
Portions of this writing is taken from Wikipedia.  Organized by James & Kathleen H. Felder, July 14, 2013

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