Chiura Obata (1885-1975)
"Setting Sun - Sacramento Valley"
15½" x 11"
Signed and dated lower left 1930
Raised in an artistic family in Japan, Obata arrived in San Francisco in 1903. He documented the 1906 earthquake with paintings and sketches. The avant-garde East-West Gallery presented his first solo show, in 1928. That same year Obata returned to Japan to prepare to produce a series of color woodblock prints of paintings he did while on a camping trip in Yosemite. Elaborate, costly and time consuming, this series may well represent the zenith of his art career. Interned in Topaz, Utah, he helped found the art school there. After the war he resumed his teaching career at U.C. Berkeley, retiring Professor Emeritus. Curator Tim Burgard has described the very large, iconic painting on silk, "Setting Sun-Sacramento Valley" (1922) as Obata's most visionary work. That painting was added to the collection of the St. Louis Art Museum in 2013. This color woodblock of that iconic painting fully represents the incredible technique Obata mastered. There are only two sets of the complete series of the Yosemite scenes, one at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor and the other at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Obata's art is in major museums collections, and his art has been exhibited internationally.
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