Kenjiro Nomura

born Gifuken, Japan 1896-died Seattle, WA 1956
Also known as
  • K. Nomura
Gifuken, Japan
Seattle, Washington, United States
  • American

Kenjiro Nomura painted The Farm [SAAM, 1964.1.36] under the auspices of the Public Works of Art Project during the Depression. Yet ironically and tragically, after being hired in 1933 by the PWAP to celebrate the American scene, Nomura, along with many other Japanese Americans, was forced into an internment camp during World War II. This injustice brought his career to an end until 1947, when he began exhibiting again.

Elizabeth Prelinger Scenes of American Life: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (New York and Washington, D.C.: Watson-Guptill Publications, in cooperation with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2001)

Related Books

1934: A New Deal for Artists
During the Great Depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) enlisted artists to capture “the American Scene” in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. Although it lasted less than one year, from December 1933 to June 1934, the PWAP provided employment for thousands of artists, giving them an important role in the country’s recovery. Their legacy, captured in more than fifteen thousand artworks, helped “the American Scene” become America seen.