Thomas Yamamoto

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Thomas Yamamoto (August 20, 1917–2004) was an American artist.

Born in Alameda, California, Thomas Yamamoto majored in art at UC Berkeley. His instructors included John Haley and Erle Loran, who worked with Hans Hofmann. To some degree they influenced his future work.

In the 1930s, Tom was active in the art scene of the San Francisco Bay area until the Pearl Harbor incident. He was interned first at the Assembly Center in San Francisco, and was later moved to the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah.[1] While there, he contributed work to the camp magazine, Trek. He was released early due to the sponsorship of Takashi Ota, an artist who housed him in his West Village home in New York City. While in New York City, Tom and other Japanese American artists formed the anti-fascist group Japanese Americans for Democracy.

In 1947, Tom returned to San Francisco, where he met Jane Emily Pitkin, daughter of nationally recognized educator Royce Stanley "Tim" Pitkin who brought Goddard College to prominence as an innovative school in alternative education. Because of California's anti-miscegenation laws, Tom and Jane were married in New York City. They then traveled extensively, living at times in different countries, and Tom continually practiced his art. From 1960 to 1971 they lived in Marshfield, Vermont where they raised three children. While in Marshfield, Thomas taught art at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.

After Vermont, they lived in Spain, American Samoa, and then 24 years in Honolulu, Hawaii before returning to central Vermont shortly before Tom's death in 2004.

In 1976, in honor of the American Bicentennial, the town of Marshfield commissioned Tom to do a series of paintings of historical Marshfield. These paintings are still (in 2010) on view in the town's offices in the Old Schoolhouse Commons.


  1. ^ "National Archives: Thomas Yamamoto". Retrieved 2010-12-22.