Obata: Spring Rain, Berkeley, California (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Chiura Obata (1885-1975)
Title: Spring Rain, Berkeley, California
Date: 1930

Storm clouds fill the sky and release fine patterns of rain onto this time capsule-like scene of a street in Berkeley, California. Obata began teaching at UC Berkeley in 1932, and beginning in 1930, numerous successful exhibitions of his work were mounted. No doubt alumni of the University would know this street and view; it must be close to the campus of UC Berkeley. A line of sleek automobiles is is glimpsed at left; they seem to be very streamlined. This is an extremely rare print; only one other example could be found, in the collection of the Achenbach at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, where they have the complete set of this series. From the World Landscape: America series, the groundbreaking effort that Obata spent all his savings on creating with the highest possible standards. Each of the finished prints in the series required up to 205 separate hand printings, and some required fifteen to twenty blocks to replicate a single brushstroke. These works represent the absolute apogee of the art of color woodblock printing in the 20th century. 34 of the 35 prints in the series show California landscapes. According to the Takamizawa booklet on the series, this work required 130 hand printings to create. Unsigned, as usual. Scarce. Provenance: The 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 top margin have been expertly repaired. The number 17 is written in Japanese in the lower left corner, possibly by Obata himself.
Literature: See the Achenbach Foundation of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Size: 45.5 x 33.8 cm