Ray Yoshida taught at the Art Institute of Chicago for four decades and influenced generations of artists. He was an icon of the Chicago art scene, and he influenced the group of forward-thinking artists who became known as the “Chicago Imagists and the Hairy Who.” Accomplished artists like Jim Nutt, Roger Brown, Gladys Nilsson, and others were students of Mr. Yoshida, and he collected their work. He was a well-known and frequently exhibited artist whose body of work includes collages, oils, prints, and drawings. He also collected the work of other artists and had a wonderful eye.
In 2009, the personal collection and artwork of Ray Yoshida became available to Kohler Foundation from the trustees of his estate. The collection consists of nearly 2,600 pieces that range from the work of the Chicago Imagists, to folk art, tribal art, and found objects. The collection includes Yoshida’s own original artwork that spans his entire career. The collection was placed at a variety of museums, colleges, and other non-profits, including the Museum of Modern Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; John Michael Kohler Arts Center; the Archives of American Art – Smithsonian Institution; Honolulu Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; and Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.
Many pieces required conservation due to overall age and basement/attic storage. PARMA Conservation of Chicago conserved hundreds of paintings, while works on paper, objects, and artifacts were treated by other conservators with the assistance of Kohler Foundation technicians.
Many tableaus from Mr. Yoshida's home and studio were preserved intact to allow museum curators to share his sense and sensibility in terms of his eye for art and arranging. The John Michael Kohler Arts Center staged a major exhibition in 2013.