Obata: Foggy Morning, Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Chiura Obata (1885-1975)
Title: Foggy Morning, Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
Date: 1930

Silver mist enhances the pervading fog in this minimalist scene of Obata’s adoptive city. The street is deserted save for a man and his horse-drawn dray cart, which makes the scene feel more lonely than if it were entirely empty. The exact location of this scene is difficult for this non-native to place, although we seem to be near the crest of a hill, and the spire at left might belong to what was St. Brigid's Catholic Church, which would make this near the corner of Broadway. From the World Landscape series, the groundbreaking effort that Obata spent all his savings on creating with the highest possible standards. With this series Obata replicated the effect of watercolor paintings in a way that had never been attempted before, and he chose many scenes that would be seemingly impossible to translate with woodblocks, as this one. According to the Takamizawa booklet that was printed with this series in English, this print required 90 impressions. In this example we can see the brushstrokes that were used for the surface application of sparkling mica that was applied over the surface of the entire print. An example of this print was recently acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art. Provenance: Estate of Chiura Obata. 

Publisher: Takamizawa
Signature: Artist's seal in red, lower right corner

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Two binding holes in right margin have been expertly repaired. The number 52 is written in Japanese in the lower left corner, possibly by Obata himself.
Literature: See the Whitney Museum of American Art online,  accession number 2015.11. See also the Achenbach Foundation of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.