de Saisset Museum

South Bay's free museum of art and history

Peaceful Painter: Hisako Hibi

September 18 – December 3, 2004 and January 22 – March 11, 2005

hibi-windy-lg   hibi-selfportrait-lg

This exhibition will feature approximately 30 paintings produced by Hisako Hibi (1907-1991), an Issei (first-generation Japanese American) artist. For more than 60 years, Hibi used her painting as a way to document and understand her world, resulting in a body of work that is both personal and universal. Hibi is perhaps best known for the paintings she completed while at the Tanforan, California relocation center and the Topaz, Utah internment camp. The paintings of this period feature simple yet dynamic compositions that have been compared to the work of Paul Cezanne and Marsden Hartley. Hibi’s later work was described by Thomas Albright as “gentle, lyrical abstractions” that “evoke sensations of natural forms and seasonal changes.” This exhibition will feature work from throughout Hibi’s career.

Hisako Hibi was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1907 and came to the United States when she was 13 years old. Hibi later attended the San Francisco Art Institute and married fellow artist Matsusaburo George Hibi. Prior to World War II, Hibi exhibited at the California State Fair, the Oakland Art Gallery, the San Francisco Art Association Annuals, and the 1939-1940 California Art Exhibition at the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island. After her return to San Francisco, Hibi’s work was more widely exhibited and was included in shows at the Portland Art Museum, the Oakland Museum of California, the Japanese American National Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Hibi’s work was the subject of a one-person exhibition organized by the Japanese American National Museum in 1999-2000. This exhibition is presented in conjunction with the forthcoming publication of Hibi’s memoirs by Heyday Books.

This exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Mamoru Inouye Class of 1952 (1930-2004)

Support for this exhibition was generously provided by Mamoru and Yasuko Inouye

Arts Council Silicon Valley

Images, left to right: Hisako Hibi, Windy, February 1944, Topaz, Utah, 20 x 24 in., oil on canvas, Family Collection. Hisako Hibi, Study for a Self-Portrait, c. 1944, Topaz, Utah, oil on canvas, Courtesy of the Japanese American National Museum.