Bearing Witness invites audiences to follow the evolution of Chiura Obata’s distinctive blending of Japanese techniques with modern abstraction, from some of his earliest watercolors depicting the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake, to his famous prints of California landscapes, to his somber consideration of World War II’s devastation.
How do artists react to catastrophes? How do they capture feelings of desperation and hope in the wake of natural — and manmade — disaster? Bearing Witness: Selected Works by Chiura Obata showcases this singular artist’s firsthand depictions of the 1906 earthquake and fire — the only on-the-spot renderings of the aftermath — as well as his paintings documenting the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Born in Japan, but with a life and career deeply entwined with the Bay Area, Obata (1885—1975) is renowned as a 20th-century master who merged Japanese painting techniques and styles with modern American abstraction.
Including many new acquisitions on display for the first time, Bearing Witness invites audiences to follow the evolution of Obata’s distinctive vision, from some of his earliest, rarely seen, watercolors, to his famous prints of California landscapes, to his somber consideration of wartime’s devastation.Take a virtual tour of Obata's "San Francisco after the Earthquake" series, on Google Arts & Culture.
Included with general admission. Reserve your tickets today.
Bearing Witness: Selected Works by Chiura Obata is on view through Feb. 27, 2023.
Image: Setting Sun on Sacramento Valley, California, U.S.A, 1930. by Chiura Obata (American, 1885—1975). Ink and colors on paper. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Dr. Stephen A. Sherwin and Merrill Randol Sherwin, 2010.12. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.