Friday, February 1, 2013

Miki Hayakawa: From Japan to Santa Fe

Miki Hayakawa
 Early Spring
 Oil on board
 26 3/4 x 31 3/4 inches
Miki Hayakawa was born in Hokkaido, Japan on June 7, 1899. At nine years of age, she immigrated to California with her mother to join her father, a pastor, who had arrived a year earlier. Resolute to make art her career, she defied her father's wishes and left the family home in Oakland while still just a teenager. Hayakawa was able to attend both the School of the Arts and Crafts at Berkeley in 1922, and the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, on scholarships. While at the School of Fine Arts, which she attended intermittently until 1929, she won a first prize and an honorable mention for her work. [1]

Miki Hayakawa
Portrait of a Negro
Oil on Canvas
26 x 20 inches
ca. 1926
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Hayakawa lived int the Bay Area until the 1930s, then she settled in Pacific Grove and Monterey during the late 1930s and early 1940s before relocating to Stockton in 1942. World War Two brought about extreme hardship for the Japanese aliens and Americans by the United States governments policies and relocation requirements. The hysteria by Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor was particularly intense along the Pacific coast of the Western United States. Residents were afraid that more Japanese attacks on their cities, homes, and businesses were imminent and demanded that the government intervene on their behalf. Japanese were removed from their homes, sometimes separated from other family members and sent into inland areas such as isolated desert areas of Arizona, California, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and Wyoming, where Japanese-Americans were forced to carry on their lives under harsh conditions. [2]

Orders from the Western Defense Command
Courtesy Upstander Gallery
Oceana High School
The government relocated Hayakawa's family from San Francisco to internment camps, first at Tanforan Assembly Center in San Francisco, and then on September 17, 1942 to Topaz, Utah, where they remained until their release on October 19, 1945.  Miki was not in a relocation camp.   By March, 1942, she was in Stockton, California, and in July and September of that year was in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she settled. [3]
While she lived and worked in Santa Fe, Hayakawa joined the community of artists there that included John Sloan, Jozef Bakox, Alfred Morang, and Preston McCrossen, whom she married  in 1947. Hayakawa worked primarily in oils. Her portrait style clearly reflected the influence of Paul Cezanne in color, composition, and technique. During her years in California, she specialized in portraits but enjoyed creating landscapes as well. After she settled in New Mexico, she painted the region, traveling with her husband and other colleagues to sketch the landscape. Her oeuvre also includes still lifes.

Miki Hayakawa
Oil on canvas
36 x 34 inches

Bonhams & Butterfields San Francisco - Writing Home
Miki Hayakawa
Oil on canvas
20 x 15.75 inches
Miki Hayakawa
Christo Rey Church
Oil on canvas
ca. 1944
17 x 26 inches
Coulter-Brooks Art and Antiques
Exhibitions included the San Francisco Society of Women Artists; San Francisco Museum of Art; Oakland Art Gallery; University of California, Berkeley; Los Angeles Museum; Monterey County Fair, Salinas; Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe; and New Mexico State Fair, Albuquerque.[4]
1. Kovinick, Phil and Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick. An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998), 132.
2. J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah. Japanese-American Internment Camps During WWII. (Accessed January 30, 2013).
3. AskArt, The Artist's Bluebook. Miki McCrossen Hayakawa. (Accessed February 1, 2013).
4. Kovinick, An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West, 132.

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