|Setting Sun. Courtesy Legion of Honor, SF|
He knew at an early age he wanted to be an artist and lucky for him, he was allowed to do so. At age 14, he was able to move from his home in Sendai, Japan. There he came under the influence of the nihonga movement - Japanese style paintings which also incorporated western ideas such as perspective and three-dimensional modeling. He won an important medal for his art work and in 1930, came to San Francisco. He remained in the Bay Area for the rest of his life.
|Death's Grave, 1930. Private Collection|
Chiura Obata ( November 18, 1885 – October 6, 1975)  was a well-known Japanese-American artist and popular art teacher. A self-described "roughneck", Obata went to the United States in 1903, at age 17. After initially working as an illustrator and commercial decorator, he had a successful career as a painter, following a 1927 summer spent in the Sierra Nevada, and was a faculty member in the Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1932 to 1954, interrupted by World War II when he spent over a year in internment camps. After his retirement, he continued to paint and to lead group tours to Japan to see gardens and art.
|Full Moon, Pasadena. 1930. Woodcut. Whitney Museum of Art|
Wild West at the Legion of Honor through September 16.