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Hiraga, Kamesuke (1889 - 1971)

Born in Tokyo in 1889, Hiraga arrived in post-earthquake San Francisco in 1906 where he studied at the Institute of Art for five years. He then moved to Los Angeles and while there, won the Julian Prize in 1914 to study in Paris. He studied printmaking at the Ecole des Beaux-Atrs where, in 1915, he became the first Japanese student to win the Grand Prize. He traveling to Paris again in 1925 to study painting under Lucien Simon. He was active in Los Angeles into the 1930's.

Hiraga's works hang in the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, and not forgotten at home, his work is featured in the Bridgestone Musuem of Art, Japan. As recently as 2006, to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Hiraga's journey to America, his painting and prints were displayed at a special exhibition at Jungu Chokokan Museum, Ise.

Other exhibitions included the Pasadena Paris Salon, 1925; Society of Artists, 1931; and the Pasadena Art Institute, 1931

He died in Hamajima, Japan in 1971.  Half of his ashes remained in Japan while the other half were sent to France, where they were placed in the Montparnasse Cemetary in Paris.