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 Sueo Serisawa  (1910 - 2004)

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Lived/Active: California / Japan      Known for: mod figure-genre, still life and non ob painting, printmaking

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BIOGRAPHY for Sueo Serisawa
1910 (Yokohama, Japan)
2004 (Idylwild, California)

California / Japan

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mod figure-genre, still life and non ob painting, printmaking

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Biography from Annex Galleries:
Sueo Serisawa, painter, printmaker, and teacher, was born in Yokohama, Japan in 1910.  He immigrated to the U.S. in 1918, to join his artist-father, Yoichi, in Seattle. Profoundly influenced by his father, Serisawa began to paint that same year.

Eventually the family relocated to California, and established a home in Long Beach in 1921.  Serisawa studied at the Otis Art Institute between 1932 and 1933.  As a student of George Baker, he studied European classicism and the techniques of the Old Masters.

His first solo exhibition was held in 1940 in West Hollywood.  The following year, his second solo exhibition opened in Los Angeles at the Museum of History, Science, and Art on December 7 (the day Pearl Harbor was bombed.)

During the war years, his family avoided internment in the California camps by moving east, first to Chicago and then to New York.  Serisawa studied at the Art Institute of Chicago School in 1943, and later in New York with Yasuo Kuniyoshi.

Serisawa returned to Southern California in 1947 and, the following year, he joined the faculty of the Kann Art Institute in West Hollywood where he taught painting. He also taught at Scripps College, Claremont Graduate School, Laguna Beach School of Art, and the University of Southern California in Idyllwild.

He held memberships in the Laguna Beach Art Association, the Foundation of Western Art, and is the past president of the California Watercolor Society.  Included in numerous national and international exhibitions, his work has been honored with numerous purchase prizes, as well as the Carol H. Beck Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.

A retrospective of his work was held at the Occidental College in Laguna Beach, and his work is held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Museum of Modem Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institution, and the San Diego Museum of Art.

Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store:
Painter, teacher.

Born in Yokohama, Japan on April 10, 1910.

Serisawa immigrated to Seattle, WA in 1918 and three years later settled in Long Beach, CA.  He studied at Otis Art Institute, AIC, and in Long Beach with George Barker and his father, Yoichi.  His teaching experience includes Kahn Art Institute, West Hollywood (1948-51); Scripps College, Claremont (1949-50); USC Summer School; and Laguna Beach School of Art. Serisawa is currently a resident of Idyllwild, CA.

His work includes portraits, landscapes, and still lifes.

Member: Foundation of Western Art; Calif. WC Society (past pres.); Laguna Beach AA. Exh: Oakland Art Gallery, 1939; Calif. State Fair, 1940, 1949 (medals); LACMA, 1941 (solo); PAFA, 1947 (medal); CPLH, 1948; Dayton (OH) Inst. of Art; DaIzelI Hatfield Gallery (LA). In: LACMA; MM; Smithsonian Inst., San Diego, Santa Barbara, Pasadena, and Laguna Beach Museums. Invw; WWC 1942; WWAA 1947-70.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Spencer Jon Helfen Fine Arts:
The following is the obituary of the artist, Idyllwild Town Crier, Idyllwild, California, September 7, 2004.

Sueo Serisawa, 94, of Idyllwild, died Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2004 in San Diego of natural causes.
He was born April 10, 1910 in Yokohama, Japan. Mr. Serisawa’s father, the artist Yoichi Serisawa, moved his family to Seattle in 1918 and a few years later to Long Beach.  His father’s influence led him into a life of art and teaching.

Mr. Serisawa studied at Otis Art Institute, Scripps College and Kahn Art Institute.  His early work was mostly portraiture, landscapes and still lifes. But as a leading member of the Modernist school in Los Angeles, his later paintings reflected elements of abstraction and cubism.
His first major museum exhibition was held, ironically, on Dec. 7, 1941 at the Los Angeles County Museum.  Because of World War II, Mr. Serisawa had to leave the West Coast.  He lived both in Colorado and Chicago, where he studied at the Chicago Art Institute for a year.  He then moved to New York in 1943 where his work received wide recognition at various East Coast exhibitions.

He returned to the West Coast in 1947, later teaching both at the Kahn Institute of Art and Scripps College.

He continued to exhibit, winning many substantial awards, and his increasing international reputation led to private classes for such Hollywood notables as Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor and Frances Marion.

Mr. Serisawa has influenced many artists internationally and his work continues to be exhibited. Earlier this year (2004), it was featured in “California Modernism: The Legacy of Five Exceptional Artists: Mabel Alvarez, Edward Biberman, Boris Deutsch, Francis de Erdely, and Sueo Serisawa” at the Spencer Jon Helfen Fine Arts gallery in Beverly Hills.

A special exhibit of his work called “Poetry in Painting” is on exhibit at the Mingei International Museum’s Warren Theater Gallery at Balboa Park in San Diego.

He married Marsha Davis in the mid-1970s and they moved to Idyllwild.

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