Shizuo Kato

Region: Vancouver
Generation: Nisei
Vancouver, BC


Shizuo Kato was a Japanese Canadian artist who studied painting in Paris in the late 1930s. Originally from Vancouver, Kato worked at his uncle’s Powell Street shoe store and took night school art classes before travelling to Paris to study at the Cour de l’Academie Colarossie, former place of study for Picasso and Matisse. Ten of his oil paintings, depicting local Parisian scenes, were exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery from October 24 to November 4, 1939, at the arrangement of the Maple Art Club, a Japanese Canadian organization in Vancouver. The record of this display is currently listed as an exhibit under the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Institute of Asian Art, the only Asian-heritage artist documented to have exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery from 1938-1941.

From a review of his work in The New Canadian, November 3, 1939: “Mr. Kato’s paintings show the influences of [the impressionist school of painting] in regard to subject matter and light effects…At the same time, strong traces of Japanese art as regard lines and brushwork technique are to be seen in a few of his works, notably, the painting of a corner of Luxembourg Park near the statue of the poet Verlaine as seen in the spring” (“City Art Gallery Displays Work of Local Japanese”, page 3).