Obata: Signed Sumi Painting of Three Deer

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Artist: Chiura Obata   (1885-1975)
Title: Three Deer
Date: June 22nd, 1940

Three deer are shown in a field, mountains forming a backdrop in the distance. The three appear to be a family unit of a buck, a doe and their fawn. The shapes of their legs are especially elegant and really capture their slender grace. Obata would sometimes take students on field trips to the zoo, so perhaps this scene is actually from a zoo, as it might be an enclosure that Obata has sketched behind them, and perhaps these are a type of rare deer. These could also be the native mule deer of California. It is also possible that Obata sketched this in class from memory as an exercise in fluid brushwork.

Obata’s economy of line and mastery of the brush are practically unequalled in 20th c. American art. He influenced a generation of California artists, and at his own count taught more than 10,000 students. The University of California, Berkeley preserved all of his paintings and sketches while Obata and his family were interned in Utah during WWII. Provenance: Estate of Chiura Obata. With a certificate of authenticity from the estate of the artist.

Obata’s training in sumi painting began in Japan at the age of seven. He wrote that there were three disciplines essential to the practice of sumi-e, beginning with “Before the student touches a brush to paper, his mind must be as tranquil as the surface of a calm, undisturbed lake.” (See Chiura Obata: An American Modern, page 71.) 

Condition: Very good condition overall. Light water stain at top and one stain above fawn.
Dimensions: 37.6 x 52  cm
Provenance:  Provenance: Estate of Chiura Obata. Includes a certificate of authenticity from the estate of the artist.

SKU: OBA127