Blue Jay

NakamizoFuji - Woodpecker.jpg

Dublin Core



An alert jay sits upon a tree branch in the foreground, with billow of leaves or some other foliage in the midground. In the distance, we see the turret of a large building. Nakamizo’s decision to render this scene as an engraving turns it into a study of patterns, both upon the bird and in its habitat. At lower left is text indicating it was created for the Federal Art Project.

About the Artist: Born in Fukuiken, Japan, Nakamizo—whose name sometimes was spelled “Fugi”—immigrated to the US in 1907, living in Grand Rapids, MI and working as a decorator. He later moved to New York and studied at the Art Students League with Frank DuMond and Joseph Pennell. During the early 1920s, he appears to have created an etching of the medical researcher Dr. Hideyo Noguchi that hung in the Nippon Club, New York (Piper). By the 1930s he was fairly well known, especially for his etchings of birds, and exhibited at places like the League Gallery (1933), Montross Gallery (1934), the Brooklyn Museum (1935), the Art Institute of Chicago (1935); and the Carl Fischer Gallery (1936). In 1936 he contributed photographs and illustrations to feminist author Baroness Shidzue Ishimoto’s East Way, West Way: A Modern Japanese Girlhood. In 1943, Nakamizo’s etching “Emblem of Strength and Courage” was chosen for a national exhibition sponsored by the group Artists for Victory; this painting of an American eagle surrounded by warplanes may have been ironic, since some sources place him at a Japanese internment camp during World War II. 2 works at Smithsonian American Art Museum. 3 works at Lowe Art Museum. 6 works at Queens Library. 1 work at the National Gallery of Art. 6 more images at FAP.

Sources consulted: Jean Piper, “Scientist Acts Like Human Dynamo,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle 6 Mar. 1927: 85; Ellen G. Landau, Artists for Victory: An Exhibition Catalog (Library of Congress, 1983).


Nakamizo, Fuji, 1889-1950








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