Obata came to the United States at age 17, having already studied traditional brush painting (sumi-e) in Japan. After working for several years as a commercial illustrator and display designer, he devoted himself full-time to fine art, rapidly attaining recognition. In 1938 he was described in Time magazine as
one of the most accomplished artists in the West
Forever intrigued by the natural beauty of the California landscape, Obata's paintings display a synthesis of East and West in media and style, as seen in this undated watercolor.
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