Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection

Yasuo Kuniyoshi
born Okayama, Japan 1889–died New York City 1953

Strong Woman and Child
oil on canvas
57 1/4 x 44 7/8 in.
Gift of the Sara Roby Foundation
provenance: Mr. and Mrs. Harold Goldsmith, The Downtown Gallery, New York, 1956

Kuniyoshi's paintings often encoded his experience as a Japanese immigrant in the United States, where in the 1920s anti-Asian discrimination was pervasive, and restrictive immigration laws prevented him from becoming a citizen. (His wife, Katherine Schmidt, was disowned by her wealthy family when they married.) He painted Strong Woman and Child while in Paris, where the liberal environment and friendships with other artists, among them Alexander Calder, provided a sense of freedom and emotional support. The strong woman of the title is a circus performer who stands on a stage, French flags entwined at the backdrop. The mother figure, who may be a stand-in for Katherine, affirms her protective relationship with the child, who seems perhaps a symbolic portrayal of the artist himself.

Previous Artwork
Next Artwork

Browse by Artwork

Browse by Artist

Give us your comments

All comments are moderated so there may be a delay in seeing your comment published. There is no need to re-post it.