Incoming Tide, by Chiura Obata

For anyone who's joined Sally Smith on one of her fascinating docent led walks at Whalers Cove, you've heard the story of Chiura Obata.  He was one of the more famous visitors to the Guest House that existed in the early 1900's at Kodani Village.  It became known as the "Art Gallery" thanks to the art work displayed on the walls by the Japanese artists who visited.  What I would give to see those walls and hear what they could say. 

Sally's public walk reminded me of the fifth episode of Ken Burns' National Park documentary.  In it, there is a section about Obata's Yosemite artwork, as well as his "internment" during World War II.  In juxtaposition to this ugly aspect of America's past, his granddaughter, Kim Kodani Hill, explained the gentle beauty of this great man and his incredible art.  Point Lobos was another of his favorite places of inspiration, which is what took me to CSUMB the other day; specificially, the restaurant next to the World Theatre.  Thanks to Sally and other donors, one of Obata's extraordinary murals is displayed there.  It's called Incoming Tide.  Nature, and great art, are something.

"Success or failure is not my aim in life.  Whether I be a flake of snow or only a drop of dew, I do not care.  I wish only to paint with gratitude to nature in my heart, and with sincerity in my brush."  Chiura Obata

Postscript: Incoming Tide was one of two paintings by Chiura Obata done for a Japanese restaurant in Monterey right after World War II. The whereabouts of the other one is unknown, though rumor has it that it was rolled up in someone's garage.  If anyone has information on this second painting, please let us know!

 

 

 

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