Isaacs Art Center

Hajime Okuda (1906-1992)

Hajime Okuda captured precious memories of mid-century Hawaii with the warmth and luminosity of the great French Impressionists. Drawing upon Monet’s brushwork, Renoir’s colors, and Van Gogh’s expressivity, Okuda’s work ranks chiefly among Hawaii’s great palette-knife painters of the later 20th century. Steeped in a mastery of classical conventions and embracing of novel techniques, he rendered landscapes of great power and depth using rich tones and jeweled highlights.

Raised in Kumamoto, Japan, Okuda was a born artist, seizing every opportunity to sketch and paint his surroundings. At age 16, he moved to Maui in pursuit of his dream to become a professional artist in America. Initially, he supported himself as an illustrator for Hawaii Times and Hawaii Hochi. A lucrative commission of floral block-print patterns for the tourist industry allowed him to devote more time to painting, which became his full-time vocation in 1958.

Hajime Okuda won numerous awards, held seven one-man shows, and frequently exhibited in major Honolulu galleries. His canvases grace the collections of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Hawaii State Art Museum, American Savings and Territorial Savings and Loan, and Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Treasured among locals and mainlanders alike, the breathtaking palette-knife oils by this eminent Hawaii landscape artist are not often available for purchase.