Chiura Obata: Two Pencil Studies of Workmen with Ladders
Artist: Chiura Obata (1885-1975)
Title: Two Pencil Studies of Workmen with Ladders at UC Berkeley
Date: Ca. 1930s/1940s
Two studies of a man posed against a stepladder, a bucket in front. It seems to be two vantage points of the same man, a position that is challenging to draw in terms of perspective and weight distribution. The man appears to be part of the maintenance or gardening crew at UC Berkeley, where Obata taught between 1932 and 1954. The subject has features that may be Japanese, so perhaps he is a friendly acquaintance. Obata seemed to make pencil drawings like this for his own personal pleasure and not as part of his class demonstrations. He was constantly observing the world and practicing his technique. There are a few pencil drawings published in “Chiura Obata: An American Modern”, figs 33-35. They are smaller than his sumi-e paintings for demonstration, and they are on paper that seems to be domestic rather than Japanese, and are taken from a sketchbook. Pencil drawings like these rarely come to market, as the Estate of the artist would seem to be the only source for them, as here. Although Obata employed here this erasable medium, there are no signs of erasure, and Obata's lines are as enviably perfect as ever. Obata’s economy of line and mastery of the brush are practically unequalled in 20th c. American art. The University of California, Berkeley preserved all of his paintings while Obata and his family were interned in Utah during WWII. Provenance: Estate of Chiura Obata. Includes a Certificate of Authenticity from the Estate.
Dimensions: 35.5 x 45.4 cm