Obata: Lake Basin in the High Sierra (Sold)
Artist: Chiura Obata (1885-1975)
Title: Lake Basin in the High Sierra
One of Obata’s most famous printed works. According to the family records, a total of 107 impressions were needed to complete the printing of this work. There are numerous progressive proof impressions for this design (at least 79), a number of which were published in “Obata’s Yosemite”.The printing was supervised by Obata and the Master Printers Masuro, Tadao, and Takaaki Takazamizawa at the Takamizawa Print Works in Japan. There is a detailed description of the printing of this image in the book "Obata's Yosemite..." by Janice Driesbach and Susan Landauer, Yosemite Association, 1993 on pages 60 through 67, which includes 9 color reproductions of 9 of the 106 states. The colors on this example correspond almost exactly to the Smithsonian example, also unsigned. Obata himself wrote about this view “For just two months in the year the nameless lake nestling at the foot of Johnson Peak in the High Sierra comes to life from its winter slumber. Rocks and five-needle pines along the shore cling to each other tightly. Countless streams run down the frozen mountainside, lending a sublime melody. Man’s very soul and body seem to melt away into the singular silence and tranquility of the surrounding air.” From the World Landscape series, the groundbreaking effort that Obata spent all his savings on creating with the highest possible standards. The project employed more than 32 carvers and 40 printers for eighteen months. In order to give the effect of a watercolor, scores of blocks were used for each design, and specially prepared paper was made. There is a greatly beloved large painting on silk of this scene by Obata in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The major retrospective “Chiura Obata: American Modern” would have just finished its final stop at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on May 25, 2020.
Literature: “Obata’s Yosemite”, page 61.
Signature: Unsigned, as is common