12-８ Uenokoen, Taitō, Tokyo 110-8714, Japan
Kenzo Okada studied at the Tokyo University of the Arts from 1920 till 1920. On the photo - The University Art Museum
Kenzo Okada had the debut solo-show at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in 1927
5 Chome-3-16 Ginza, Chūō, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
The Galerie Nichido in Tokyo represented Kenzo Okada’s art from 1929 till 1935
4 Chome-8-24 Kudanminami, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 102-0074, Japan
Kenzo Okada taught at the Nihon University from 1940 till 1944
1 Chome-736 Ogawacho, Kodaira, Tokyo 187-0032, Japan
Kenzo Okada taught at the Musashino Art University from 1947 till 1950
2 Chome-１７２３ Yarimizu, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0394, Japan
From 1949 till 1950, Kenzo Okada worked at the Tama Art University. On the photo - the University's Library
265 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States
Kenzo Okada exhibited at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum in 1965
1285 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222, United States
The Albright-Knox Gallery organized Kenzo Okada's travelling retrospective in 1965
1600 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20009, United States
Kenzo Okada took part at the exhibition ‘Three Pioneers of Abstract Painting in 20th Century Japan’ held by the Phillips Collection in 1979
1-6 Ōhorikōen, Chūō-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka-ken 810-0051, Japan
Kenzo Okada had a retrospective at the Fukuoka Art Museum in 1982
Kenzo demonstrated his passion for drawing while in the primary school. At the age of fifteen, impressed by the story about the French painter Jean-Francois Millet, the young boy announced the parents of his intention to become a painter. The father didn’t like the idea and wished his three sons to establish a family business company.
Kenzo Okada became a student of the the department of Western painting at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (currently Tokyo University of the Arts) at the age of twenty. Two years later, the young artist moved to Paris where he took some lessons from his compatriot, the painter Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita. Depicting the urban life, Okada explored the French painting.
In 1927, Kenzo Okada came back to his homeland.
The start of Kenzo Okada’s career can be counted from the participation at the Salon d'Automne of 1927 (Autumn Salon) in Paris. The same year, the painter came back to Japan where he presented his artworks at the debut solo-show held at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo. Okada received good reviews from critics.
The show was followed in 1929 by the sixteenth exhibition of the Nikakai group and a personal show at the Galerie Nichido which would represent the artist’s work till 1935. This period, Okada illustrated different books and magazines as well.
At the beginning of the new decade, the artist tried himself as a teacher. In 1940, he joined the professor’s staff of the Nihon University where he spent four years. Returning to Tokyo from the Mori village in the Miyagi Prefecture where he had been evacuated during the Second World War, Okada became a teacher at the Musashino Art University in 1947. He had taught art there for three years. From 1949 till 1950, he had worked at the Tama Fine Arts College in Tokyo.
That year, Kenzo Okada relocated to New York City. Soon, he took an active part at the local art community. Meeting such representatives of Abstract Expressionism as Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still, the artist quickly adopted himself the principles of this style.
The first abstract expressionist canvases of Kenzo Okada were demonstrated in 1953 at the Betty Parsons Gallery with which the artist would collaborate throughout his life. In a couple of years, Okada represented the United States at the São Paulo Biennial.
The subsequent decade, his canvases were exhibited at such art galleries, like the Fairweather Hardin Gallery in 1961, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1965. This year, Okada’s art became a subject of the travelling retrospective organized firstly at the Albright-Knox Gallery, in Buffalo, New York.
Among the most important shows where Kenzo Okada took part at the end of his life were the exhibition ‘Three Pioneers of Abstract Painting in 20th Century Japan’ by the Phillips Collection in 1979 and the retrospective at the Seibu Museum of Art in Tokyo and at the Fukuoka Art Museum, both in 1982.
Red and Orange
Points No. 19
Screen I (diptych)
Young Bamboo (diptych)
White and Brown
Bridge across the River
Kenzo Okada married Kimi Kasono, a former dress designer, on May 10, 1931.