Chiura OBATA (1885-1975)

Iwasaki, Hikaru. In a very colorful setting is Professor Chiura Obata at work at the Grimm Lamback Artificial Flower Co., as Mr. Harry Taylor, Art Director, looks on. Profess Obata is an evacuee from the Central Utah Relocation Center (1944). Courtesy of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Iwasaki, Hikaru. Professor Chiura Obata at work at the Grimm Lamback Artificial Flower Co., as Mr. Harry Taylor, Art Director, looks on. Profess Obata is an evacuee from the Central Utah Relocation Center (1944). Courtesy of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

“My idea of biography deals not in past or the present, but lies in the future. The past speaks for itself, and actions speak for the present. In words, I speak for the future. My brush and I look ahead only. I intend my path in life to be as plain, simple, and definite as air and water. Water as pure as dewdrops on the wild flowers of Tuolumne meadow at dawn, as melodious as the winding mountain stream in spring; as ominously symphonic as the powerful waterfalls of Yosemite; as meandering as the brook winding in and out through hill and dale, uniting and reuniting, but flowing ever onward to the sea; and as great as the mighty strokes of waves and the fathomless depth of ocean color. Success or failure is not my aim in life. Whether I be a flake of snow or only a drop of  drew I do not care. I wish only to paint with gratitude to ‘Nature’ in my heart and sincerity in my brushes. This is my future, my biography”.

Read Chiura Obata‘s biography in California Art Project, volume 20, part 2.CARA_V20_P2_OBATA

At a glance

Birth : November 18, 1885. Okayama Prefecture (Japan)
Death : October 6, 1975, in San Francisco, California (United States)
Arrival in San Francisco Bay area : 1903
Married to : Haruko Kohashi
Skills : Painter, illustrator, designer and teacher at the Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley

Network

Art education, teachers : Rokuichi Obata (father), Pupil of Chikusen Moniwa, student at the Kakuzo Okakura Art School (Tokyo, Japan) with Tanryo Murata, Kogyo Terasaki and Goho Hasimoto
Relations : Robert Boardman Howard, James K. Steele, Worth Ryder, E. Spencer Macky,
Patrons : S. & G. Gump Co., Toyo Kisen Kaisa, San Francisco Opera Association
Institutions, clubs, venues : East West Art Society (San Francisco, co-founder), Kenseikai (Tokyo, Japan), San Francisco Art Association

Resources in the Bancroft Library

Pictorial archives

Chiura Obata paintings collected by Harold Burns [graphic]. BANC PIC 2012.091–C; BANC PIC 2012.091–FR; BANC PIC 2012.091. Catalog Record
Chiura Obata landscape drawings [graphic]. BANC PIC 2009.045:1-5–AX folder 1; BANC PIC 2009.045:6–ROLL box 1; BANC PIC 2009.045:7–ROLL box 2; BANC PIC 2009.045. Catalog Record
War Relocation Authorit Photographs of Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement, 1942-1945. BANC PIC 1967.014–PIC. Catalog Record

Bibliography

Oakland Museum (c1977). Chiura Obata : a California journey [exhibition] the Oakland Museum, the Great Hall, Low Bay, May 10 through June 19, 1977. Oakland [Calif.] : The Museum. Catalog Record
Obata, Chiura (c1993). Obata’s Yosemite : the art and letters of Chiura Obata from his trip to the High Sierra in 1927 / with essays by Janice T. Driesbach and Susan Landauer. Yosemite National Park, Calif. : Yosemite Association. Catalog Record
Obata, Chiura (2000). Topaz moon : Chiura Obata’s art of the internment / edited with text by Kimi Kodani Hill ; introduction by Timothy Anglin Burgard ; foreword by Ruth Asawa. Berkeley, CA : Heyday Books. Catalog Record
Obata, Chiura (1939). The seasons at California. [Berkeley, Calif.] : California Monthly. Catalog Record
Pepper, Stephen C. (1952). Festschrift presented to Stephen Coburn Pepper. Catalog Record
Shimojima, Tetsurō (2000). Samurai to Kariforunia : ikyō no Nihon gaka Obata Chiura / Shimojima Tetsurō. サムライ と カリフォルニア : 異境 の 日本 画家 小圃 千浦 / 下嶋 哲朗 / 下嶋 哲朗, 1941-. Tōkyō : Shōgakkan. Catalog Record

Representative Work

Obata Chiura. Spring Mist, Saratoga. In California art research. [Monographs] First series. San Francisco, Calif., 1936-1937 and in California art research. Microfiche edition. La Jolla, Calif. : L. McGilvery, 1987. Vol. 20, part 2.

Obata Chiura. Spring Mist, Saratoga. In California art research. [Monographs] First series. San Francisco, Calif., 1936-1937 and in California art research. Microfiche edition. La Jolla, Calif. : L. McGilvery, 1987. Vol. 20, part 2.

Data Visualization : mapping of Chiura Obata biography

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