Lot 301 of 364:
Japanese-American artist Chiura Obata, UC Berkeley art Portfolio  

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Lot closed - unsold
$600 - $900

The Seasons at California


Berkeley, California

California Monthly:



Second Edition. 1 of 1250 portfolios. Pictorial folder. 12 x 15” with 4-page preface (title-page; photograph of Obata at work; and 2-page introduction by William Frederick Calkins) and 10 color reproductions of paintings on silk by Obata, all mounted on 12 x 15" backing paper except for one on 11 x 14” backing.


  • Charter Day, Greek Theatre 
  • Nightfall, from Charter Hill
  • Old Botanical Gardens, Early Autumn
  • Dusk at Sather Gate, Winter
  • Faculty Glade, Late Summer
  • Singing to the Future, Memorial Stadium, Fall
  • Campanile by Winter Moonlight
  • Spring Rain. Football Statue
  • Senior Pilgrimage
  • Summer breeze, Botanical Garden.


A well-known California artist and popular UC Berkeley Art Professor, Obata painted the scenes reproduced and collected in this portfolio while he and his wife had an art supply store and artist studio in Berkeley. A year after publication of this portfolio, American went to war with Japan; the Obata Studio was forced to close after its windows were smashed; the Obata and his family w343 interned at the Topaz camp in Utah, where he taught art classes to fellow internees until he was released in 1945 briefly to design propaganda for the OSS intelligence agency. After the War, his wife reopened her studio, he retired from academe and devoted his life to painting and leading annual art tours to Japan (1959-68 listing below)

Some of these plates may be from the 1939 First Edition or from Obata’s extended 1947 portfolio, “California’s Colorful Campuses”.(1947 listing below) The 10 in this copy include 4 dated 1939 in the plate, 4 dated 1940, 1 indistinguishable and 1 undated. 

Lot Amendments

Slight soiling to portfolio cover; title page creased on right and bottom with small closed tear; very good.

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