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Chiura Obata papers, 1891-2000, bulk 1942-1945

Obata, Chiura, 1885-1975

Art teacher, Painter

This site provides access to the papers of Chiura Obata in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2020, and total 3,019 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

Collection Information

Size: 3.6 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of Japanese-American artist and educator Chiura Obata measure 3.6 linear feet and date from circa 1891 to 2000 with the bulk of the material dating from 1942 to 1945. The collection contains biographical material primarily related to Obata's family's forced relocation from Berkeley to Tanforan detention center and incarceration at the Topaz Relocation center; correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues; writings by Chiura Obata and others; material related to the art schools Obata established at Tanforan and Topaz; teaching files and professional activities; exhibition files; printed material, including TREK, and Topaz Moon: Chiura Obata's Art of Internment; photographic material; and sketches and sketchbooks. There is a 1.0 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2020 that includes correspondence, writings, subject files and printed material.

Biographical/Historical Note

Chiura Obata (1885-1975) was a Japanese-American artist and educator. Born Zoroku Sato in Okayama prefecture in Japan, Obata showed artistic talent early in life. He joined the artist group Nihon Bijutsuin (the Japan Art Institute) and apprenticed with Tanryo Murata. Obata also trained in Western and modern Japanese art.

Provenance

The Chiura Obata papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2018 and 2020 by Kimi Kodani Hill and Mia Kodani Brill, Chiura Obata's grandchildren.

Language Note

The collection is in English and Japanese.

Funding

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.