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Yasuo Kuniyoshi collection

Identifier: AG 85

Scope and Contents

The Yasuo Kuniyoshi collection is made up of two series containing photographic materials from 1935-1941: Series 1, Negatives and Series 2, Work prints.

Series 1, Negatives, contains 1554 nitrate negatives created from 1935 to 1941. Please note that all negatives in this collection were moved for isolation to the small room next to the Conservation lab (9/4/2015). These negatives are separated into five boxes labeled A-E. Box E specifically houses published portraits and nudes. Series 2, Work prints, is made up of eight work prints in a single folder.


  • 1935-1941


Language of Materials

Material in English

Conditions Governing Access

To access materials from this collection, please contact The nitrate negatives are restricted due to condition.

Conditions Governing Access

The negatives in boxes 2 and 2a are currently inaccessible due to renovations in CCP's cold storage facility. Negatives will be accessible once the renovation is complete and the negative boxes have been transferred to the new frozen storage space. The estimated date of availability is mid-year of 2023, although not guaranteed. Please be sure to email with any questions or for updates.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission from the copyright owner (which could be the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates or literary executors) prior to any copyright-protected uses of the collection.

The user agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona, Center of Creative Photography, including its officers, employees, and agents, from and against all claims made relating to copyright or other intellectual property infringement

Biographical Note

Yasuo Kuniyoshi was born in Japan in 1889. In 1906, Kuniyoshi immigrated to the United States and studied art in night school in Los Angeles. In 1910, he moved to New York.

Kuniyoshi studied with Kenneth Hayes Millar at the Art Students League from 1916-1920 and spent summers studying at Hamilton Easter Fields Ogunquit (Maine) School of Painting and Sculpture from 1918-1922. During this time, he married Katherine Schmidt and also began as a commercial photographer.

In 1922, Kuniyoshi held his first one-man exhibition of painting at the Daniel Gallery, New York. Between 1925-1928, he traveled extensively to Europe. In 1929, he built an artist's colony in Woodstock, NY. A few years later, he divorced Katherine Schmidt, and shortly thereafter began teaching at the Art Students League, New York.

In 1935, Kuniyoshi married Sara Mazo. He continued to teach, set up a darkroom studio in Woodstock, and served on the National Executive Committee of the American Artists Congress. Kuniyoshi presented "What is American in American Art" at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1940. A year later he has to surrender his camera to the United States government.

In 1942, there is a retrospective exhibition of his works for the benefit of the United China Relief at the Downtown Gallery, New York and he also designs war posters for the Office of War Information. In 1946, Kuniyoshi organized a Harvest Festival Dance at Woodstock to benefit Japanese in American relocation camps. From 1947-1951, he is the first President of Artists Equity, and in 1948, the recipient of the Whitney Museum's first one-man retrospective show of a living artist's work. Kuniyoshi died in 1953.


6 Boxes (1.5 linear feet)

Metadata Rights Declarations

  • License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons license.


Photographic materials of Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889-1953), Japanese-born painter and photographer who worked in New York from 1910 until his death. Includes 35mm black and white negatives, 1935-1941, and work prints of portraits and scenes at Woodstock, New York.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Series 1: Negatives, 1935-1941
  2. Series 2: Work prints, 1935-1941

Custodial History

The collection was a gift of Kuniyoshi's widow, Sara Mazo Kuniyoshi, in 1987.

Separated Materials

Nitrate negatives have been isolated in cold storage.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi collection 1935-1941
Finding aid created by CCP Archives Staff
© 2019
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Finding Aid Based On Dacs (Describing Archives: A Content Standard)
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Finding aid encoded in English

Repository Details

Part of the Center for Creative Photography Archives Repository

1030 N. Olive RD
Tucson Arizona 85721 United States