Chiura Obata’s Devastation

Selected Artworks from Chiura Obata: American Modern

A watercolor image of two people sitting with destruction around them.

Chiura Obata, Devastation, 1945, watercolor on paper, 13 x 18 1/2 inches, Private Collection.

About this Artwork

Obata responded to the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945, with a trio of large watercolor paintings: Devastation, Prayer, and Harmony, showing a cycle of destruction and rebirth. He envisioned the emptiness of the destroyed city as a space in which nature could yet triumph, trusting that hope and life could return and heal the wounds of war. He exhibited the series in 1946.