Half length figure of a woman wearing a hat looking through a window with mountains visible in the background.
Kuniyoshi frequently created portraits of a lone, introspective woman. In She’s Going, the subject is pictured before a barren landscape that may reflect the Japanese-born artist’s increasing despondency during World War II—a time of heightened anti-Japanese sentiment in the US, when the government persecuted citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent.
Although Kuniyoshi was the first living artist to receive a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1948), critics sometimes challenged the validity of presenting his work as American. (Immigration law prevented Kuniyoshi from ever gaining citizenship.) In a 1940 speech at the Museum of Modern Art, the artist questioned what constituted “American” versus “un-American” art. Defying the nationalistic and regionalist thinking of the day, he said he believed that “the boundaries of nations are not the boundaries of Art.”
Lisa Crossman, 2020
painting; portraits; women; windows; Japanese-American
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