1907 - 2004
New York City-based artist Hideo Date (1907-2004) was born in Osaka, Japan and immigrated to California in 1923. After graduating from high school he enrolled at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, but left after a year to pursue the study of traditional brush painting in Japan. Date returned to Los Angeles where he spent the 1930s immersed in the burgeoning Los Angeles art scene. He interacted and exhibited with a host of other young artists through groups such as the College Art Association, the Foundation of Western Art, the Los Angeles Oriental Artists Group, and the Los Angeles Art Association. Date was greatly influenced by artist and teacher Stanton MacDonald-Wright who oversaw the Los Angeles Art Students League. Date was also a part of the Independents, a group of L.A.-based artists who rejected the tenets of modernism.
With the outbreak of World War II, Date was sent first to the Santa Anita Race Track, California and then to Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming, where he taught art privately to other Japanese American inmates. He went to New York City after the war and continued to involve himself with other artists and associations. He traveled extensively, going to New Orleans and back to Los Angeles, and then to Italy and France.
Date's body of work is important to an understanding of Japanese American history, particularly in terms of looking at the changes over time from the early prewar period through to the present day. Date is additionally important because of his issei status, shedding light on the immigrant generation and the role of artists in the prewar era.