Obata: Sumi Painting of Big Creek (SOLD)

  • Sold.

Artist: Chiura Obata   (1885-1975)
Title: Big Creek
Date: Undated; ca. 1930s-40s

Sumi (ink) study of two views of a flowing creek. In pencil “Big Creek” is written lower right. This might be Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve, which is part of the University of California Natural Reserve System, located in Big Sur. At top is a view of large ferns and a textured rock, with water flowing gently around it. The lower sketch shows either a creek view with mixing currents or perhaps an ocean shore, which the reserve also contains. We see how he can capture the essence of forms in just a few strokes. Each object requires a completely different type of stroke. 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: Excellent condition overall, with pin holes near corners. Some wrinkles, mostly from the watercolor process. Obata used Japanese paper that he ordered from Japan. With some erased pencil notation at right.

Dimensions: 39.3 x 52.7 cm  cm
Provenance:  Provenance: Estate of Chiura Obata. Includes a certificate of authenticity from the estate of the artist.
Signature: Artist's seal, lower left, in red