Hideo Date

Last updated
Hideo Date
Hideo Date.jpg
Born(1907-01-05)January 5, 1907
Osaka, Japan
DiedJanuary 6, 2005(2005-01-06) (aged 98)
Queens, New York
EducationKawabata Gakko, Tokyo
Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles
Known forPainting
Spouse(s)Yuriko Tamaki

Hideo Date (January 5, 1907 January 6, 2005) was a Japanese-born American painter active from the 1930s to the 1980s, known for combining elements of Japanese nihonga with American Synchromism. A prominent figure in the Los Angeles art scene prior to World War II, his career was interrupted by the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans. Although he continued painting for decades after the war, Date's work remained largely ignored until he was rediscovered by a younger generation of artists and curators in the 1990s.


Early life

Date was born in Osaka, Japan, and his father left for California in search of work shortly thereafter. Date's mother and brothers later joined his father to help in the hardware store he had established in Fresno, and in 1923, a sixteen-year-old Date immigrated to California as well. [1] After his father was forced to file for bankruptcy and close the hardware store in 1925, [2] the family moved to Los Angeles, where Date graduated from Polytechnic High School. [1] In 1928, he enrolled at the Otis Art Institute, but he left the next year over an argument with the Institute's director, who had urged him to stop painting "in an Oriental manner." [3] His parting words were: "If you don't like my painting, you can go to hell." [4] Date studied traditional Japanese painting at the Kawabata Gakko in Tokyo for two years, returning to Los Angeles in 1930.

Over the next several years Date became active in the local arts community and began exhibiting his work, helping his two brothers at their flower shop during the day and attending art classes at night. [2] He was a member of the Independents, a group of Los Angeles area artists who rejected the tenets of modernism, and worked closely with Synchromism co-founder Stanton Macdonald-Wright and others in the avant-garde movement. [3] Date showed paintings in exhibitions of the Japanese Artists of Los Angeles, Young Painters at the College Art Association, Foundation of Western Art, the Los Angeles Oriental Artists Group, and the Los Angeles Art Association. [1] [3] He received a commission to paint a mural in Pickfair, the mansion home of Mary Pickford, and later Macdonald-Wright, then heading the Southern California Works Progress Administration's Federal Arts Project, arranged for Date to paint another at a school in the Japanese American community of Terminal Island. Date was at work on the second mural at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Executive Order 9066; it remained unfinished when he was sent to camp in 1942 and has since disappeared. [1]

World War II and later career

During World War II, he was "evacuated" from the West Coast with other Japanese Americans, first to the Santa Anita Assembly Center in California and then to the Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming. While at Heart Mountain, Date and fellow inmate Benji Okubo formed the Art Students League school and taught art classes in camp. At its peak the school had 250 students and teachers, who showcased their work in several exhibitions and created a mural at the camp. Date himself continued drawing and painting in camp, although he almost exclusively created pictures of cats. [1]

Date was released from Heart Mountain in 1945, to work on a mural in Buffalo, New York. He returned to Los Angeles briefly in 1947, to retrieve his pre-war artwork and hold a show at the Art Center School, but otherwise remained based in New York for the rest of his life. [1] He married Yuriko Tamaki, and in 1955, after the Walter-McCarran Act struck down race-based restrictions on naturalization, he became a U.S. citizen. Although Date continued working, his career never fully recovered from the interruption caused by his wartime confinement. He participated in a few exhibitions in the 1950s, but did not show any work again until 1977. [2] In the late 1990s, Date donated almost 200 works to the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. [3] Two other area museums showcased his work in 2000, and in 2001 the JANM retrospective, "In Living Color: The Art of Hideo Date," opened to the public. [2] The JANM exhibit's curator, Karin Higa, published an accompanying book on Date and his work under the same title.

Date died at his home in Queens one day after his ninety-eighth birthday, in 2005.

Related Research Articles

Stanton Macdonald-Wright American artist

Stanton MacDonald-Wright, was a modern American artist. He was a co-founder of Synchromism, an early abstract, color-based mode of painting, which was the first American avant-garde art movement to receive international attention.

Sam Francis American artist (1923-1994)

Samuel Lewis Francis was an American painter and printmaker.

Morgan Russell American artist

Morgan Russell was a modern American artist. With Stanton Macdonald-Wright, he was the founder of Synchromism, a provocative style of abstract painting that dates from 1912 to the 1920s. Russell's "synchromies," which analogized color to music, were an early American contribution to the rise of Modernism.

Synchromism Art movement

Synchromism was an art movement founded in 1912 by American artists Stanton MacDonald-Wright (1890–1973) and Morgan Russell (1886–1953). Their abstract "synchromies," based on an approach to painting that analogized color to music, were among the first abstract paintings in American art. Though it was short-lived and did not attract many adherents, Synchromism became the first American avant-garde art movement to receive international attention. One of the difficulties inherent in describing Synchromism as a coherent style is connected to the fact that some Synchromist works are purely abstract while others include representational imagery.

Japanese American National Museum

The Japanese American National Museum is located in Los Angeles, California, and dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Japanese Americans. Founded in 1992, it is located in the Little Tokyo area near downtown. The museum is an affiliate within the Smithsonian Affiliations program.

Theodore Lukits

Theodore Nikolai Lukits was a Romanian American portrait and landscape painter. His initial fame came from his portraits of glamorous actresses of the silent film era, but since his death, his Asian-inspired works, figures drawn from Hispanic California and pastel landscapes have received greater attention.

Bruce Yonemoto and Norman Yonemoto are two Los Angeles, California-based video/installation artists of Japanese American heritage.

Karl Benjamin

Karl Benjamin was an American painter of vibrant geometric abstractions, who rose to fame in 1959 as one of four Los Angeles-based Abstract Classicists and subsequently produced a critically acclaimed body of work that explores a vast array of color relationships. Working quietly at his home in Claremont, CA, he developed a rich vocabulary of colors and hard-edge shapes in masterful compositions of tightly balanced repose or high-spirited energy. At once intuitive and systematic, the artist is, in the words of critic Christopher Knight, "a colorist of great wit and inventiveness."

Lorser Feitelson

Lorser Feitelson (1898–1978) was an artist known as one of the founding fathers of Southern California-based hard-edge painting. Born in Savannah, Georgia, Feitelson was raised in New York City, where his family relocated shortly after his birth. His rise to prominence occurred after he moved to California in 1927.

Edward Biberman was an American artist active in the mid-twentieth century. His work ranged from stylised portraits to history-inspired murals, and drew on the emerging urban landscapes of southern California, and on current events such as the Great Depression, the Second World War, and labour unrest.

California Tonalism was art movement that existed in California from circa 1890 to 1920. Tonalist are usually intimate works, painted with a limited palette. Tonalist paintings are softly expressive, suggestive rather than detailed, often depicting the landscape at twilight or evening, when there is an absence of contrast. Tonalist paintings could also be figurative, but in them, the figure was usually out of doors or in an interior in a low-key setting with little detail.

Henry Yuzuru Sugimoto was a Japanese-American artist, art teacher and a survivor of Japanese American Internment during World War II. Sugimoto became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1952.

Ala Ebtekar American painter

Ala Ebtekar is a contemporary artist who works between his native San Francisco Bay Area and Tehran, Iran. Ebtekar is known primarily for his work in painting, drawing, illumination, and installation that explores the juncture between history and myth, forging a multi-faceted project.

Karin Higa

Karin Higa was a curator and specialist in Asian American art.

Hideo Noda Japanese-American painter

Hideo Noda, also known as Hideo Benjamin Noda and Benjamin Hideo Noda, was a Japanese-American modernist painter and muralist, member of the Shinseisakka movement in Japan, student of Arnold Blanch, and uncle of Japanese printmaker Tetsuya Noda, as well as alleged communist spy recruited by Whittaker Chambers.

Hisako Hibi

Hisako Shimizu Hibi (1907–1991) was an Issei painter and printmaker who exhibited throughout her career, and by the end of her life she was well entrenched in the San Francisco Bay Area arts community.

Andy Wilf (1949–1982) was a Los-Angeles based painter whose artistic practice consisted of drawing, painting and murals.

Jack Hooper (artist) American painter

Jack Hooper was an American painter, muralist, sculptor, printmaker and art educator. Hooper was a major figure on the Southern California art scene, belonging to that generation of Los Angeles painters who matured during the late 1950s and the 1960s, painters such as John Altoon, Sam Amato, Robert Irwin, Lee Mullican, William Brice and Billy Al Bengston. He was an innovator in the use of new materials, most importantly plastic in art. He is known for abstract expressionist, mural and figurative painting. Hooper has exhibited in art museums and galleries nationally and internationally including solo shows in Europe, Mexico and the United States. Modeling renown UCLA art professor and figurative artist, Jan Stussy, the last 20 years of his life were spent in rural Mexico, where he drew and painted every single day until his death.

Art Students League of Los Angeles

Art Students League of Los Angeles was a modernist painting school that operated in Los Angeles, California from 1906 to 1953.

Benji Okubo

Benji Okubo was an American painter, teacher, and landscape designer. He and his family were held in internment camps during World War II.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Wakida, Patricia. "Hideo Date". Densho Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Patrick, Alisha. "Hideo Date (1907-2005) Archived 2017-11-07 at the Wayback Machine ." Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Cheng, Scarlet. "A Painter Ready to Claim His Place" (28 October 2001) Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  4. Higa, Karin. In Living Color: The Art of Hideo Date (Berkeley, California: Heyday Books, 2001).