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Louis Suzuki, 1920 - 2016

Lewis Suzuki Photo
Lewis Suzuki
Lewis Suzuki, The Mill, 1960
The Mlll, 1960
Lewis Suzuki, Floral Fireworks
Floral Fireworks
Lewis Suzuki was born in Los Angeles. In the 1930's and 40's, he studied at the Otis Art Institute in LA and then the Student's Art League in New York. He became prominent in the California Watercolor Movement. Since the 1950's, he has lived in the Bay Area, and is known for his cityscapes and floral still lifes done with the wet into wet watercolor style.

During WW II, Lewis taught Japanese at the Military Service Language School in Minnesota. After the war, he studied at the Art Students League in New York. He traveled to Hiroshima, and created a painting called No More Hiroshimas and other peace posters for the American Friends Service Committee.

In 1952, he traveled to China with the American Peace Crusade and met his future wife, Mary Bonzo, an American citizen who had grown up in the Philippines and was in China with a Quaker group. They married in Berkeley. Lewis worked as a cabinet maker while also painting, exhibiting and teaching.

Suzuki’s bold and imaginative use of color won him numerous awards, including two at the Society of Western Artists show at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. He served on the Berkeley Art Commission and was recognized by the City of Berkeley in 2010. Until recently, he continued to work at his studio on Grant Street in Berkeley, participating in such events as East Bay Open Studios and Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios.

Source: California Watercolors: 1850-1970  Gordon T. McClelland and Jay T. Last, and his obituary in The Rafu Shimpo, Los Angeles Japanese Daily News.