Kakunen Tsuruoka two mesquite and misty brush under blue sky

Kakunen Tsuruoka, 1892-1977

untitled (two mesquite and misty brush under blue sky)

watercolor on paper, signed and dated at lower right, Kakunen Tsuruoka 44, with artists oval seal, Tsuruoka, 1944

16 1/2 by 21 3/4 in., 42 by 55.4 cm

Although he was well-traveled, the barren landscape of the Sonoran desert must have seemed other-worldly to Kakunen. The familiar palette of his memories of Japan and Northern California's Yosemite were light years away. Undeterred, Kakunen focused on what was before him: sand and sky, distant mountains, morning mist on brush, and gnarled mesquite trees.

Kakunen signed some of his watercolors from Poston in English, presumably because he was not painting Japanese subjects or in an overtly traditional Japanese style. However, one could imagine that perhaps, like so many of the Japanese-Americans unlawfully incarcerated at the camps, he was making a point by asserting how very American he was.



Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.

site last updated
December 1, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475