Chiura Obata (1885–1975) is one of the most significant Japanese American artists working in the United States in the last century. Obata’s seemingly effortless synthesis of different art traditions defies the usual division between “East” and “West.” Chiura Obata: American Modern presents the most comprehensive survey of his rich and varied body of work to date with more than 150 paintings and personal effects, many of which are on public display for the first time.
ShiPu Wang, professor of art history at the University of California, Merced, is the guest curator for the exhibition; Crawford Alexander Mann III, SAAM’s curator of prints and drawings, is coordinating its presentation in Washington, D.C. The exhibition’s presentation at SAAM is the final stop of a five-museum tour and the only venue east of the Rocky Mountains. It was previously on view in Santa Barbara, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, and Okayama, Japan.