Chiura Obata’s Maiden of Northern Japan

Selected Artworks from Chiura Obata: American Modern

A painting of a woman standing with a flowering tree behind her.

Chiura Obata, Maiden of Northern Japan, 1931, mineral pigments on silk, 46 1/2 x 19 3/8 inches, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA, Gift of the Obata Family, 2008.24.

About this Artwork

After immigrating to California in 1903, Obata did not return to Japan until his father’s funeral in 1928. With this large-scale painting of a young woman wearing a silk kimono, begun on this trip, he also returned to the Japanese styles and subjects he had studied as a teenager at Tokyo’s elite Nihon Bijutsuin (Japan Fine Arts Academy). Although much of Obata’s adult work is eclectic and personal in its artistic voice, that traditional academic training provided rare skills that made him a valuable teacher in the United States. He completed this painting in 1931 in San Francisco during a series of public art demonstrations.