Kenzo Okada (1902-1982)
signed 'Kenzo Okada' (lower edge)
oil on canvas
50¼ x 41 in. (127.6 x 104.1 cm.)
Painted in 1956.
Betty Parsons Gallery, New York.
Private collection, circa 1965.
Anon. sale; Sotheby's, New York, 6 October 2005, lot 47.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

Lot Essay

Painted during the height of the Kenzo Okada's career, Hold is a beautiful painting that exemplifies an art that rests secularly in the Eastern tradition as well as in the avant-garde spirit of the New York school. A contemporary and friend of painters Barnett Newman (1905-1970), Mark Rothko (1903-1970), and Franz Kline (1910-1962), Okada found a balance between two divergent styles. In Hold, he created a new dialogue exhibiting the clarity of form, serenite color scheme and psychological relation to nature so important in the traditional Japanese aesthetics by combining these elements with the expressiveness of modern Western abstraction.

Okada enjoyed phenomenal success throughout his lifetime. The artist was born in Yokohama, Japan in 1902 and attended Tokyo Fine Arts University where he learnt to paint in traditional realist style. In 1924, Okada left Japan for Paris, where he studied with the renowned Japanese artist, Tsuguji Fujita. He emigrated to the United States and arrived in New York in 1950, during the height of the Abstract Expressionist movement. His work underwent complete transformation, fusing the traditional Japanese artistic style with an expressive formal outlook.

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