Obata: Watercolor Painting of a Standing Bay Horse

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Artist: Chiura Obata   (1885-1975)
Title: Watercolor Painting of a Standing Bay Horse
Date: Ca. 1930s

Watercolor study of a standing bay horse. This work seems to be a direct study of an equine that he observed in person, which is quite a departure from his usual depictions of horses; those tend to be more in the idealized Chinese style, with the horse rearing on its hind legs and mane blowing in the wind. Here he’s given the horse plenty of space and no surrounding details, the better to focus purely on its form. When we asked our relative who is a Horse Person, she suggested the title "Reflections of a Bay Horse" because he looks like he is thinking about something and also for the way that the light reflects from the side of his body. She noted that he looks like a large bay, maybe a gelding, that has a kind eye and nice proportions.

Obata taught at Berkeley between 1932 and 1954, and made many study paintings as demonstration to his students. The University of California, Berkeley preserved many of his paintings while Obata and his family were interned in Utah during WWII. A recent exhibition of Obata’s work was held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which would have closed in May of 2020. His works are included in the collection of the Whitney Museum of Art, in addition to the collections of numerous West Coast museums. Provenance: Estate of Chiura Obata. Includes a Certificate of Authenticity.

Condition: Very good condition overall. With the original backing that was applied to the paper by the artist. Some minor rubbing and light wrinkles to the soft paper.
Dimensions: 39.5 x 52.7 cm
Provenance:   Estate of Chiura Obata. WIth a Certificate of Authenticity.
Signature: Sealed in red, lower left, with artist's seal.