Dynamic watercolor painting of a Kabuki actor, in motion, 19 1/2" by 14 3/4", signed at lower left and stamped there, and dated 1933, by the important Japan-born California artist CHIURA OBATA (1885-1975). This is a mid-life work by the artist, who showed early talent as a boy in Japan. By age 7 he was taking lessons in Sumi-e painting (traditional Japanese ink/brush painting) from a master. In 1903, Obata came to Seattle in the United States, then San Francisco within a few years. In the early years he took illustration and commercial work. A seminal 1927 trip to Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada was instrumental in the development of his mature style. Recognition quickly built, with a first solo US exhibition in 1928, and appointment to the art department at University of California at Berkeley. Obata held that position until 1954, though his forward progress was interrupted by difficult years in California and Utah internment camps during the war. The 1930's period before the war outbreak was a successful time for Obata. He retired in 1970, after leading many cultural exchange trips to Japan in the 1960's. Today his work, fusing traditional Asian techniques with the western styles he learned, is considered a major foundation for the body of work we know today as the California Watercolor School. Condition: There is some discoloration at upper left corner from old dampstaining, (though the very whitest appearing bit at extreme top edge is just a reflection) and the paper elsewhere has some blotchy areas and uneven toning. The black strip frame is likely the original.
CHIURA OBATA (1885-1975) watercolor painting of Kabuki actor by important Japanese-California artist