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Recent Deaths in the Arts

posted by April 23, 2014

In its periodic list of obituaries, CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the following artists, historians, teachers, curators, dealers, philanthropists, and others whose work has significantly influenced the visual arts.

  • Molly Lamb Bobak, an artist, teacher and the first Canadian woman to be sent overseas as a war artist, died on March 2, 2014. She was 95
  • Markus Brüderlin, a Swiss curator, art historian, and director of the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, died on March 16, 2014, at age 55
  • Chu Teh-Chun, a Chinese painter also known as Zhu Dequn who was celebrated for integrating traditional Chinese painting with Western abstraction, died on March 26, 2014. He was 94 years old
  • Derek Clarke, a painter inspired by Scottish and Irish landscapes, died on February 10, 2014, at the age of 101. He had taught for many years at the Edinburgh College of Art
  • Margaret Crow, a Texan philanthropist and matriarch of a family of real-estate developers, died on April 11, at age 94. The Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas is named for her and her husband
  • Alan Davie, a Scottish painter of colorful abstractions, passed away on April 5, 2014. He was 93 years old
  • Lucia Eames, a designer, the daughter of Charles Eames, and the owner of the Eames Office for twenty-six years, died on April 1, 2014. She was 83
  • Joseph Anthony “Joe” Gatto, a noted jewelry artist and the founding visual-art dean of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, died on November 13, 2013. He was 78 years old. CAA has published a special obituary for Gatto
  • John Heskett, a writer, professor, and lecturer on industrial design who greatly expanded the theorization of his subject, died on February 25, 2014. He was 76
  • Frederick Horowitz, an artist, educator, author, and advocate of Josef Albers’s teaching, died on September 12, 2013, at age 75. CAA has published a special text on Horowitz
  • Alexis Hunter, a feminist and conceptualist photographer who based in London, died on February 24, 2014. She was 65
  • Charlotte Jirousek, associate professor of textiles and apparel at Cornell University, passed away on February 12, 2014. She was 75 years old
  • Peter Kalkhof, a German artist based in London known for his colorful linear abstractions, died on February 24, 2014, at the age of 80. He also taught art for many years at Reading University
  • Monika Kinley, a British curator, collector, and dealer who specialized in outsider art, passed away on March 9, 2014, at age 88
  • Donald F. McCallum, an art historian, professor, and scholar of Japanese art, died on October 23, 2013. He was 74 years old. CAA has published a special obituary for McCallum
  • Kenneth W. Prescott, an art historian, curator, and ornithologist whose last position was chairman of the Department of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, died on August 20, 2013. He was 93
  • Ernest Silva, a painter, sculptor, and professor at the University of California, San Diego, from 1979 to 2013, died on February 24, 2014. He was 65
  • Edward Sozanski, an art critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer for three decades, died on April 14, 2014. He was 77 years old
  • Martin Sullivan, the former director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery from 2008 to 2012, died on February 25, 2014. He was 70
  • Theo Wujcik, an artist, professor, and master printmaker who worked with Jasper Johns and Robert Morris, died on March 29, 2014, at age 78

Read all past obituaries in the arts in CAA News, which include special texts written for CAA. Please send links to published obituaries, or your completed texts, to Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor, for the next list.

Filed under: Obituaries, People in the News

Joseph Anthony “Joe” Gatto: In Memoriam

posted by January 17, 2014

Joseph Anthony “Joe” Gatto, a noted jewelry artist and the founding visual-art dean of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, died on November 13, 2013. He was 78 years old.

Born on December 22, 1934, in Pueblo, Colorado, Gatto was the son of immigrants. His father was a shoveler in the steel industry, and his mother was a garment worker. The family moved west, and Gatto attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, California, where he aspired to attend college. He worked bagging groceries, studied, and lettered in four sports. After military service at Fort Lewis, Washington, he attended California State University, Los Angeles, and Pepperdine University in Malibu, where he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art and education. Gatto was the first in his family to graduate from college and earn advanced degrees.

An award-winning jewelry artist, painter, photographer, and author of several books on teaching art, Gatto cofounded the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), where he was visual-arts dean from 1985 to 2002. He was a recipient of the California “Bravo” Teacher of the Year Award and was honored at the White House by both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Always active in his church and community, Gatto supported the parish and school at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church and participated in local politics. In 2004 he fulfilled a lifelong dream, serving as delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Joseph A Joe Gatto Nesting Bird 3

Joe Gatto, Nesting Bird 3, gold, coral, pearl, and found objects (artwork © Joe Gatto)

After retiring from LACHSA, Gatto continued to teach figure drawing and art-education courses at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He exhibited and gained national acclaim for his finely crafted art jewelry shown under his brand Wear Art Now. A dedicated father and grandfather, avid gardener, collector, and world traveler, Gatto lived life to its fullest while he nurtured the creative lives of others.

Gatto is survived by brothers Don and Frank, his daughter Nicole and her husband Mark, his son Mike and his wife Danielle, his daughter Mariann and her fiancé Eric, his grandchildren Damian, Elliana, and Evangelina, and his former wife Isolde, plus countless cousins, admiring students, and loving friends.

Memorial services were held on November 22, 2013, in Los Angeles, with hundreds in attendance. The Los Angeles Police Department is continuing its investigation into Gatto’s untimely death. Donations in his memory can be made to one of his favorite charities: (1) Historic Italian Hall Foundation, 125 Paseo De la Plaza, Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90012; (2) Los Angeles Community Garden Council, 4470 West Sunset Boulevard, No. 381, Los Angeles, CA 90027; or (3) Tuition Magician, Joe Gatto Arts Scholarship, 4470 West Sunset Boulevard, PMB 378, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

Filed under: Obituaries

Donald F. McCallum: In Memoriam

posted by January 17, 2014

Sherry Fowler is associate professor of Japanese art history at the University of Kansas. She earned her doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1994.

Donald F. McCallum

Donald F. McCallum

Donald F. McCallum, a celebrated art historian and treasured teacher, passed away peacefully in his home on October 23, 2013, after battling sudden metastatic prostate cancer. He was 74 years old.

McCallum had a long distinguished career as a scholar of Japanese art history, over seven years of which were spent doing research and fieldwork in Japan. In June 2013, he retired from his position as professor in the Department of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He was a beloved teacher known for his serious commitment to education alongside a sharp sense of humor. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on May 23, 1939, McCallum earned his PhD at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and his AB at University of California, Berkeley.

He began teaching at UCLA in 1969 and served as chair of its Department of Art History, interim director for the UCLA Center for Japanese Studies, director of the University of California Tokyo Study Center, Toyota Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan, Franklin D. Murphy Lecturer at the University of Kansas, and Hooker Distinguished Visiting Professor at McMaster University. His numerous awards include fellowships from the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, the Korean Cultural Service, the Japan Foundation, and the John D. Rockefeller III Fund.

Donald F. McCallum Hakuhō Sculpture

Donald F. McCallum, Hakuhō Sculpture (2012)

McCallum’s research on Japanese art had a wide breadth, but his main area was Japanese Buddhist art in which he published three books: Hakuhō Sculpture (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012); The Four Great Temples: Buddhist Archaeology, Architecture, and Icons of Seventh-Century Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2009); and Zenkoji and Its Icon: A Study in Medieval Japanese Religious Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994). His interests expanded to Korean art, modern Japanese art, and even tattoos, as exemplified in his articles “Korean Influence on Early Japanese Buddhist Sculpture,” in Korean Culture (1982); “Three Taisho Artists: Yorozu Tetsugoro, Koide Narashige, and Kishida Ryusei,” in Paris in Japan: The Japanese Encounter with European Painting (1987); and “Historical and Cultural Dimensions of the Tattoo in Japan,” in Marks of Civilization: Artistic Transformations of the Human Body (1988). In addition to his books, McCallum’s published articles and book reviews that number over seventy will continue to have a significant impact on the field for years to come.

As a dedicated teacher at UCLA for forty-four years, McCallum shared his passion and knowledge with thousands of students and patiently served as dissertation advisor to eleven graduate students. His rigorous training style and strong, personal commitment toward his students, even after they started their own professional careers, was instrumental toward enabling some to become leaders in Japanese art history. Among them are tenured faculty members at Yale University, Portland State University, the University of Kansas, the University of Regina, Taiwan National Central University, California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, and the University of Maryland. Aside from helping his own graduate students, McCallum enthusiastically and generously supported nearly the entire next generation of younger scholars in Japanese art history with great encouragement and by writing thoroughly researched letters of support for tenure and promotion.

McCallum will be dearly missed by many, both in and outside academia. He is survived by his wife Toshiko, his son Kenneth and his daughter-in-law Takayo, his daughter Sumako and his son-in-law James Turner, and his grandchildren Ella Sachiko and Jackson James Turner. Anyone who has ever talked with him or heard him lecture knows how devoted he was to his family and was more than likely treated to many humorous tales about his cherished grandchildren.

The Donald F. McCallum Memorial Fund has been established to support the Department of Art History and the UCLA Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies. Memorial gifts to support the fund can be made out to the UCLA Foundation and sent to: Alexa Almazán, UCLA College Development, Division of Humanities, 1309 Murphy Hall, Box 951413, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1413.

Filed under: Obituaries

Recent Deaths in the Arts

posted by December 27, 2013

In its regular roundup of obituaries, CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the following artists, historians, curators, dealers, collectors, and others whose work has significantly influenced the visual arts. Notable deaths in fall 2013 include the artist Anthony Caro, the photographer Saul Leiter, the philosopher and critic Arthur C. Danto, and the scholar and curator Karin Higa.

  • Kirk Alexander, an art historian, civil engineer, and educational-technology expert who worked at Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley, died on October 1, 2013. He was 63
  • Charles Cajori, an artist who was part of the second generation of Abstract Expressionists in New York, passed away on December 1, 2013, at the age of 92
  • Anthony Caro, a British modernist artist who created colorful, welded steel sculptures, died on October 23, 2013. He was 89 years old
  • Arthur C. Danto, a philosopher and art critic who taught at Columbia University and wrote for the Nation, died on October 25, 2013, at age 89
  • Wanda Ewing, an artist, printmaker, and associate professor of art at the University of Nebraska, died on December 8, 2013. CAA has published a special obituary for Ewing, who was a member of CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts, written by Maria Elena Buszek
  • Günther Förg, a German artist who worked in painting, sculpture, and photography commented on modernism, died on December 5, 2013. He was 61
  • Michael Harvey, a pioneer in the craft of lettering and the development of typefaces, died on October 18, 2013, at the age of 81
  • Karin Higa, a scholar of Asian American art and a curator for the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, passed away on October 29, 2013. She was 47. Higa had been a member of the editorial board for Art Journal, which has published a series of remembrances
  • Jenny Hoon, a lecturer on textile design at the Derby School of Art (now the University of Derby) for many years, died on October 15, 2013, at age 79. She also served as an administrator and examiner for numerous schools
  • Saul Leiter, a pioneering photographer of images using color film, died on November 26, 2013. He was 89 years old
  • Georgina Livingston, an English landscape architect whose projects included the visitor’s center at Stonehenge and the Cambridge University Centre for Mathematical Sciences, died in October 2013. She was 72
  • Brian MacDermot, a London stockbroker who became a dealer of nineteenth-century Orientalist painting, died on September 12, 2013, age 82
  • Gridley McKim-Smith, an art historian who specialized in seventeenth-century Spanish art and a longtime professor at Bryn Mawr College, passed away on October 19, 2013. She was 70 years old
  • Samuel Clifford Miller, director of the Newark Museum from 1968 to 1993, died on November 7, 2013, at the age of 83
  • José Esteban Muñoz, a queer theorist and a professor in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, died on December 4, 2013. He was 46 years old
  • Hajime Nakatani, a professor of East Asian art history who worked in Canada and Japan, died in June 2013. He was 46
  • George Ortiz, a French collector of antiquities from Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, and Greece, passed away on October 8, 2013. He was 86
  • George Rodrigue, a New Orleans–based artist beloved for his paintings of the Blue Dog, died on December 14, 2013. He was 69
  • Leslie Sacks, a Californian art dealer with galleries at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica and in Brentwood, died in October 2013. She was 61 years old
  • Àngeles Santos, a Catalan artist who was often called the Spanish Rimbaud, died on October 3, 2013. She was 101 years old
  • Martin Sharp, a psychedelic artist who designed album covers in the late 1960s and who founded Oz magazine, died on December 1, 2013, age 71
  • Michael Sullivan, a historian of Chinese art who taught at Stanford University from 1966 to 1984, died on September 28, 2013. He was 96
  • Deborah Turbeville, a fashion photographer and a contemporary of Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin whose images appeared in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, died on October 24, 2013. She was 81 years old
  • David Vestal, a photographer and professor at Parsons School of Design, the School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute, died on December 4, 2013. Born in 1924, he received two John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships in photography in 1966 and 1973
  • Ian White, an artist, curator, and writer who performed his works at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, and the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London, died on October 26, 2013, at the age of 41
  • Victor Zamudio-Taylor, a Mexican curator, art advisor, and promoter of contemporary art, has died. Born in 1956, he was once a Rockefeller Foundation senior associate researcher at the National Museum of American Art and the Archives of American Art

Read all past obituaries in the arts in CAA News, which include special texts written for CAA. Please send links to published obituaries, or your completed texts, to Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor, for the next list.

Filed under: Obituaries, People in the News

Wanda Ewing: In Memoriam

posted by December 20, 2013

Maria Elena Buszek is associate professor of art history in the College of Arts and Media at the University of Colorado Denver.

Wanda Ewing

Wanda Ewing (photograph by Dana Damewood)

The artist and educator Wanda Ewing died in Omaha, Nebraska, on December 8, 2013, of complications from chemotherapy. She was 43 years old.

Born on January 4, 1970, Ewing received her BFA in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute, and later both an MA and MFA in printmaking from the University of Iowa. She was an associate professor of art at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, where she began teaching in 2005, leading courses in foundations and senior capstones for studio majors. She was a longtime member of the College Art Association, on whose Committee on Women in the Arts she served at the time of her death, as well as the Southern Graphics Council, where she was the International Board of Directors’ secretary.

Ewing’s work ranged from traditional print media to sculpture and, most recently, fiber arts. She was influenced by folk-art aesthetics and the depiction—and lack thereof—of African American women in popular culture, often with a biting, comical edge. Ewing’s best-known series included her pin-ups Black as Pitch, Hot as Hell, voluptuous clothing from The Summer I Wore Dresses,and faux magazine covers entitled Bougie. Her work has been included in exhibitions and purchased for collections throughout the world, and was reproduced in such publications as the Paris Review.

At the time of her passing, her series of brand-new, latch-hook works, Little Deaths, was on display at the RNG Gallery in Council Bluffs, Iowa—which will remain on exhibit, with additional works, through January 2014 as a memorial. She was, perhaps, proudest of her inclusion in the 2010 exhibition A Greater Spectrum: One Hundred Years of African American Artists in Nebraska at the Museum of Nebraska Arts, where her work was included alongside that of luminaries such as Aaron Douglas. Ewing was the recipient of grants and honors from the Women’s Caucus for Art, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the Nebraska Arts Council, among other accolades.

Wanda Ewing

Wanda Ewing, Girl #9, from the series Black as Pitch, Hot As Hell, 2006, acrylic and latex paint on carved plywood, 48 x 48 in. (artwork © Wanda Ewing)

Ewing was also an excellent educator, beloved and respected by both colleagues and students at the University of Nebraska for her rigorous curricula, her no-nonsense critiques, and her outreach to the regional arts community. Her legacy at the school will live on in the form of the Wanda Ewing Scholarship Fund.

Wanda Ewing will be remembered by all who knew her for her larger-than-life personality, tremendous warmth, and indomitable spirit. She is survived by her mother Elouise Ewing; her siblings Mona Yaeger, Clarence Ewing III, and Annette Ewing McCann; and her nephew and niece Devlin and Kayleigh McCann.

Filed under: Obituaries

Recent Deaths in the Arts

posted by October 10, 2013

In its regular roundup of obituaries, CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the following artists, historians, curators, educators, and others whose work has significantly influenced the visual arts. Notable deaths this summer and fall include the artists Stephen Antonakos and Mark Gottsegen and the Renaissance art historian Mark Zucker.

  • Stephen Antonakos, an artist known for abstract sculpture that incorporates neon lighting, died on August 17, 2013, at age 86
  • Jack Beal, an American painter of nudes, still lifes, and murals whose representational aesthetic ushered in the New Realism of the 1960s and 1970s, died on August 29, 2013, at the age of 82
  • John Bellany, a Scottish figurative painter whose retrospective was held last year at the Scottish National Gallery, passed away on August 28, 2013. He was 71
  • Marion Bloch, an art collector and philanthropist, died on September 24, 2013, at age 83. The wife of the founder of H&R Block, she was a longtime supporter of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City
  • Michael K. Brown, a longtime curator of the Bayou Bend Collection, part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, passed away on September 8, 2013. He was 60 years old
  • Red Burns, an arts professor and chair of the Interactive Telecommunications Program in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, died on August 23, 2013. Known as the “godmother of Silicon Alley,” she was 88 years old
  • Anne Christopherson, an English painter renowned for her depictions of the Thames River, died on August 15, 2013. She was 91
  • Alvin Eisenman, the founding director of Yale University’s graduate program in graphic design, died on September 3, 2013. He was 92
  • Cecil Fergerson, a former curator for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and a community activist, died on September 18, 2013, at age 82. Fergeson started working for the museum in 1948 as a janitor and became a preparator before joining the curatorial staff
  • Juan Garcia de Oteyza, an editor, publisher, and diplomat who served as director of Aperture Foundation from 2008 to 2010, died on August 26, 2013. He was 51
  • Mark Gottsegen, a painter and the founder of Art Materials Information and Education Network (AMIEN), passed away on September 24, 2013. He had been a professor at the University of North Carolina in Greenboro and was the author of The Painter’s Handbook
  • Alfred Rozelaar Green, a painter who spent the 1930s in Paris and who later founded the Anglo-French Art Centre in London, has died. He was 95 years old
  • Ellen Lanyon, a painter and printmaker based in New York whose work has been described as a “unique blend of realism and the surreal,” died on October 7, 2013. She was 86
  • Frank Martinez, an artist and muralist based in Los Angeles, died on August 17, 2013. He was 89
  • Michael McManus, former chief curator of the Laguna Art Museum in California, died on August 10, 2013, at age 60. He had taught at California State University, Fullerton, and the Laguna College of Art and Design
  • Mario Montez, a drag performer and film actor who was part of Andy Warhol’s entourage of superstars, died on September 26, 2013. He was 78
  • Steve Ross, a literary scholar and the director of the Office of Challenge Grants at the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1995 to 2013, died on August 21, 2013. He was 70
  • Sadegh Tirafkan, an Iranian artist who blended photography and other artistic media in innovative ways, passed away on May 9, 2013. He was 47
  • Arturo Vega, a Mexican artist who designed graphics for the Ramones, including the band’s famous circular logo, died on June 7, 2013. He was 65 years old
  • Gillian Wakely, associate director of education for the University of Pennsylvania Museum, died on August 14, 2013, age 67. She had worked for her institution for forty years
  • Kathleen Watkins, an English curator and secretary of the Penwith Society of Arts in St. Ives, Cornwall, for forty-six years, died on September 5, 2013. She was 80 years old
  • George Weissbort, a traditional painter of portraits, landscapes, and still lifes who was based in London for decades, died on July 9, 2013. He was age 85
  • John Wright, a British artist of many talents—he was a painter, professor, writer, designer, and filmmaker—died on July 9, 2013. He was 82 years old
  • Mark Zucker, a Renaissance art historian and a professor in the College of Art and Design at Louisiana State University for thirty-two years, died on August 3, 2013. He was 69

Read all past obituaries in the arts in CAA News, which include special texts written for CAA. Please send links to published obituaries, or your completed texts, to Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor, for the next list.

Filed under: Obituaries, People in the News

Recent Deaths in the Arts

posted by August 22, 2013

In its regular roundup of obituaries, CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the following artists, historians, educators, and others whose work has significantly influenced the visual arts. Notable deaths this summer include four major internationally known artists: Ruth Asawa, Walter De Maria, León Ferrari, and Allan Sekula. In addition, CAA has published special obituaries on the Asian American art historian Sadayoshi “Sada” Omoto and the eminent Russian scholar Dmitrii V. Sarabianov.

  • Ruth Asawa, an artist based in San Francisco who created abstract sculpture, including intricate hanging wire pieces and several public fountains, passed away on August 6, 2013. She was 87 years old
  • Ronnie Cutrone, an artist and an assistant to Andy Warhol in the Factory from 1972 into the early 1980s, died on July 21, 2013. He was 65
  • Walter De Maria, a sculptor best known for his large-scale outdoor work The Lightning Field and indoor pieces such as The New York Earth Room and The Broken Kilometer, died on July 25, 2013. He was 77 years old
  • León Ferrari, an Argentine artist known for provocative work that addressed war, religion, power, and sex, died on July 25, 2013. He was 92 years old
  • Betty Jones, a conservator of paintings at Harvard University’s Fogg Museum and for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, died on May 20, 2013, at age 94. She was instrumental in recovery efforts in Venice after the city was flooded in 1966
  • Ben Lifson, a writer, curator, and photographer, passed away on July 3, 2013, at the age of 72. Lifson served as photography critic for the Village Voice from 1977 to 1982
  • Larry Nowlan, a realist sculptor based in New Hampshire known for his bronze statue of the actor Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden, sited outside New York’s Port Authority, died on July 30, 2013. He was 48 years old
  • Sadayoshi “Sada” Omoto, a historian of American and Asian art who taught at Michigan State University for thirty-three years, died on March 4, 2013, at the age of 90. A special obituary on the scholar has been published by CAA
  • John Reilly, the founder of a New York theater for underground video called the Global Village, died on July 28, 2013, age 74. Reilly financed documentary films and created his own, including Waiting for Beckett (1993), while also teaching workshops on video production
  • Alejandro Santiago, a Mexican artist who worked on a series of small statues called 2501 Migrantes from 2002 to 2008, passed away on July 22, 2013. He was 49 years old
  • Dmitrii V. Sarabianov, a Russian scholar who specialized in art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, passed away on July 19, 2013, age 89. CAA has published a special obituary on the eminent art historian
  • Allan Sekula, an artist, photographer, writer, and longtime professor at California Institute of the Arts, died on August 10, 2013. He was 62 years old. Last year CAA honored Sekula with its Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art
  • Jud Yalkut, a film and video artist based in Dayton, Ohio, died on July 23, 2013, at the age of 75. He founded the film and video program at Wright State University in 1973 and also taught at Sinclair Community College and Xavier University

Read all past obituaries in the arts in CAA News, which include special texts written for CAA. Please send links to published obituaries, or your completed texts, to Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor, for the next list.

 

Filed under: Obituaries, People in the News

Sadayoshi “Sada” Omoto: In Memoriam

posted by August 21, 2013

adayoshi “Sada” Omoto: In Memoriam

The following obituary was prepared by the deceased’s wife, Kathryn B. Omoto, and his son, Loren Omoto.

Sadayoshi Omoto

Sadayoshi Omoto

Sadayoshi “Sada” Omoto, an artist and art historian, died on March 4, 2013, after a lifetime of inspiring students, artists, and friends. He was 90 years old. Omoto’s path through life brought him challenges, opportunities, and triumphs. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, college professor, elected official, activist and, in later years, an artist. His indomitable spirit and easygoing personality made him a friend to and role model for many. His individuality and dogged determination emerged early and were defining characteristics throughout his life.

Omoto was born at Wing Point on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The island—a short ferry ride from Seattle—was an idyllic spot to grow up. As a young man he began classes at the University of Washington, but his life was changed forever on the day Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor. Soon after, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the United States military to relocate American citizens of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast. The first people subject to the evacuation order were Japanese Americans living on Bainbridge Island.

Omoto’s family and more than two hundred other island residents were given just six days to collect what possessions they could carry and make arrangements for their property. On March 30, 1942, US soldiers carrying rifles with bayonets rounded them up and put them on a ferry to Seattle. Ultimately the family became some of the first residents at Manzanar War Relocation Center, an internment camp located in a remote area of the Southern Californian desert. At Manzanar, Omoto lived in communal barracks with his brother and widowed mother, surrounded by barbed wire, dogs, and guard towers, while his two older brothers served in the US military. The experience instilled a keen awareness of social injustice. He later made his forced relocation a “teachable moment” for his children and for hundreds of others who heard him speak or who viewed his highly personal art on the subject.

Omoto left the camp to join the US Army, training as a linguist at the Military Intelligence Service Language School in Minnesota. He made his first journey to Asia while in the military. After the war, Omoto resumed his quest for a higher education—but this time in the Midwest. Omoto enrolled at Oberlin College in Ohio and earned a bachelor’s degree. He also earned a master’s degree from Michigan State University and his PhD in art history from Ohio State University.

For the next forty years, Omoto taught American and Asian art history—first at Bradley College in Illinois, then at Wayne State University in Detroit, and finally at Michigan State, where he worked for thirty-three years. During his career, he served as department chair and as advisor to a minority student organization. His concern and attention to principles of justice were remembered by students long after their college careers.

Omoto was the author of numerous articles in professional journals, including “Thackeray and Architectural Taste” (1967) and “The Queen Anne Style and Architectural Criticism” (1964) in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians; “The Sketchbooks of Worthington Whittredge” in Art Journal (1965); and “Berkley and Whittredge at Newport” in Art Quarterly (1964). He also wrote book reviews and contributed articles to the Kresge Art Center Bulletin.

Sadayoshi Omoto Michigan Experience

Under the auspices of the Bicentennial Inventory of American Paintings Executed before 1914, a program of the National Collection of Fine Arts (later renamed the Smithsonian American Art Museum), Omoto directed the inventory of early Michigan paintings. The collection of over one thousand works served as the basis for the Michigan Experience exhibition at Kresge Art Center Gallery at Michigan State in 1986, which traveled to venues throughout the state. He authored exhibition catalogues for The Michigan Experience (1986, with Eldon Van Liere) and Early Michigan Paintings (1976–77).

After retiring from Michigan State, Omoto returned to the northern Michigan community he had first visited as an art student during the 1950s. In Leland, he cultivated a new life focused on creativity and community service. He attended painting classes and helped to form a collective of local artists who drew inspiration from the local landscape and from each other. Omoto also helped to organize exercise classes for seniors and exhibitions of art from the past and present. With his wife Kathryn, he supported the work of the Leelanau Conservancy and other local historic-preservation efforts. Although slowed in recent years, Omoto remained a familiar sight at Leland community events, galleries, and coffee shops. His gentle humor and easy smile made him a beacon of friendliness during any season.

Omoto is survived by his wife, Kathryn Bishop Omoto; his children Allen Omoto (David Robinson) of Claremont, California, Katherine (Neal) Fortin of Okemos, Michigan, Loren (Susan) Omoto of Maitland, Florida; his granddaughter Helen Fortin of Okemos; and numerous nieces and nephews. Omoto was preceded in death by his parents Daikichi and Masa Omoto; his son Roger Omoto; his brothers Masakatsu, Setsuo, and Taketo Omoto; and his sister Kanee Omoto.

Filed under: Obituaries

Dmitrii V. Sarabianov: In Memoriam

posted by August 21, 2013

Alison Hilton is Wright Family Professor of Art History at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Dmitrii V. Sarabianov, a Russian art historian and a specialist on nineteenth- and twentieth-century art, died in Moscow on July 19, 2013. He was 89 years old. Sarabianov was one of the great art historians of his generation, those who began their scholarly careers during and following World War II.

Born on October 10, 1923, into the family of a Marxist philosopher, Sarabianov showed an early interest in the arts, especially poetry and music, as well as camping and athletics. Soon after he began his undergraduate studies in 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. He joined the army to serve as a translator, was wounded twice, and received several medals for military merit. After the war Sarabianov completed his undergraduate work at Moscow State University and was admitted into the school’s graduate program in art history, earning his candidate’s degree in 1952.

In 1954 he began work at Moscow’s prestigious Institute of Art History, first as a senior researcher and later as deputy director. From 1966 to 1996 Sarabianov taught and served as the head of the Art History Department at Moscow State University. He earned his doctorate in 1971. (In Russia this signifies substantial scholarly achievement beyond the candidate’s degree; it is roughly equivalent to full professorship.) Sarabianov became a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1987 and was elected to the rank of academician five years later.

Sarabianov was an inspiring teacher and mentor whose influence guided the careers of many Russian academics and museum scholars for several generations. Even for those who did not encounter him directly, Sarabianov’s publications—numbering more than 360 books and articles—set a standard for scholarship recognized both in Russia and abroad. Subjects of his monographs, many of them translated, include important nineteenth-century artists, among them Pavel Fedotov, Orest Kiprenskii, Aleksei Venetsianov, Ilya Repin, and Valentin Serov, as well as key figures in early-twentieth-century art such as Vasilii Kandinsky, Pavel Kuznetsov, Robert Falk, Liubov Popova, and Kazimir Malevich. What distinguishes Sarabianov’s work is the scope and originality of his interpretations of Russian art movements. He was among the first to write about Russian nineteenth-century painting in relation to European art, and he published a path-breaking study of international Art Nouveau in 1989. His book Russian Art: From Neoclassicism to the Avant Garde 1800–1917 (1990) is considered the fundamental text on the subject.

Sarabianov always took his civic responsibility as an academic very seriously. He spoke up at meetings, defended intellectual freedom, and voted on policy questions. In 2005, he and colleagues in Moscow’s major museums and other art institutions created the National Organization of Art Experts (NOEXI) to monitor and cope with the unprecedented demands of the chaotic art market in Russia and to establish means of ensuring professional credibility and trust.

Regarded by his peers, his former students, and his readers as a scholar of absolute integrity, Dmitrii Sarabianov will be missed most for his immense charm and kindness. He is survived by his wife, Elena Borisovna Murina, and his sons, Andrei and Vladimir Sarabianov.

Filed under: Obituaries

Anitra Haendel: In Memoriam

posted by August 05, 2013

CAA staff mourns the loss of its dear friend and colleague, Anita Haendel. Anitra was CAA’s office services and purchasing coordinator (2004–10) and brightened the lives of all of us every day with her presence and her work. She received her BA from Brown University and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 2012.

Projekt Papier Interview

Watch Anitra Haendel’s video interview with Projekt Papier, posted in 2012.

Filed under: Obituaries