This sidewall was designed by an Japanese-American artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi. Throughout Kuniyoshi’s prolific career, he worked in a variety of different media, including painting, photography, and printmaking. His painterly works from the 1920s are characterized by an expressive distortion of form, which was inspired by Kuniyoshi’s experience with traditional Japanese painting, as well as his introduction to European modernism. In contrast, his compositions from the 1930s adhere to a more realistic tradition in their use of perspective, which suggests depth and continuity. This sidewall blends elements of Japanese prints and American folk art through its use of subtle color harmonies, simplified plant shapes, and odd proportions. The light brown undulating plant with dark brown shading looks more painterly and realistic, while the uniformly green fern-like plant is more reminiscent of traditional Japanese painting. The various flat and highly stylized plants are delicately floating in space on the sidewall. The colors and style of this sidewall are similar to the mural Kuniyoshi painted in the women’s lounge of Radio City Music Hall in New York in the early 1930s. The mural, like the sidewall, is a decorative composition of stylized plants in an undefined space. Since the sidewall is machine-printed, it does not have the same painterly quality as the mural. The sidewall is uniform, with the same composition of plants repeating downward. The use of warm colors, plant imagery, and an abundance of negative space makes this a pleasant and light sidewall.
- Sidewall, 1934; Designed by Yasuo Kuniyoshi (American, born Japan, 1893-1953), Made by Richard E. Thibaut, Inc. (New York, NY, USA, founded 1886); Machine-printed paper, Gift of Arnold Roston, 1995-153-1