Item # 072024.
Chiura Obata (1885–1975) was one of the most significant Japanese American artists working on the West Coast in the last century. Born in Okayama, Japan, Obata emigrated to the United States in 1903 and embarked on a seven-decade career that saw the enactment of anti-immigration laws and the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Prominent in the Northern California artistic communities, Obata served both as an art professor at UC Berkeley for nearly twenty years and as a founding director of art schools in the internment camps.
In the summer of 1927, he traveled to the High Sierra of Yosemite where he made sketches and watercolors of the “Great Nature” he found there. This respect for nature is the spiritual foundation of his work. Obata followed the Zen Buddhist principle of kiin-seido, or “living moment,” in the immediate, intuitive expression of his subjects’ essential nature.