Condition: Good

Radish and Daikon Watercolor | Chiura Obata | 1921

Chiura Obata was born in 1885 in Okayama Prefecture, Japan. As a young artist he moved to San Francisco in 1903 and worked as an illustrator for the city’s Japanese newspapers, ‘The New World’, and the ‘Japanese American’. Offered and shown is an early large watercolor completed in 1921 representing vegetables in full color. Obata oversaw the process of translating his watercolors into woodblock prints after 1930. Obata’s watercolors celebrated the use of sumi-e brush strokes detailing areas of delicately-layered color. Titled, with chop mark and signature shown. Condition of the watercolor painting is Very Good but slight toning, foxing and worn edges. Perfect if framed. Dimensions: 20-¾”w x 15-¾”h.

Additional Information —
Chiura Obata, (1885-1975) was a well-known Japanese-American artist who spent much of the 20’s painting landscapes throughout California and helped establish the East West Art Society in San Francisco in 1921. He spent the summer of 1927 on a sketching tour of Yosemite and designed a series of 35 woodblock prints in 1930. Although titled the World Landscape Series, the majority of his prints were of Yosemite National Park in California, and were published in limited editions of 100 by the Takamizawa Print Works in Japan. Obata oversaw the process of translating his watercolors into woodblock prints, a process that proved very demanding both in the carving and the printing. Some of his designs required as many as 160 separate impressions. Obata was interned at the Tanforan Detention Center where, during his stay, he organized an art school with over 650 camp residents as students. In September 1942, he was moved to the Topaz Relocation Center, near Delta, Utah. Released from Topaz in 1943, he moved with his family to St. Louis, finding employment with a commercial art company. In 1945, when the military exclusion ban was lifted, Obata was reinstated as an instructor at U.C. Berkeley. He was promoted to Associate Professor of Art in 1948.

Posthumous exhibitions of Chiura Obata works have been organized at the Oakland Museum, The Smithsonian Institution, and most recently at the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco, in 2000.

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