Chiura Obata in Death on Alder

Beth Everett

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

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. This
is my future. This is my biography. — Chiura Obata

Death on Alder is meant to be a cultural trip through San Francisco. The painting of a horse that hangs in Elliot and Sam's apartment is by the legendary Chiura Obata. The artist is an important figure in the Bay Area's art history.

Obata was teaching art at UC Berkeley when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. His wife's art supply shop had its windows shot out. The artist sold many of his works off cheaply and stored some with friends before he and his family were interned in the Tanforan Detention Center. Obata and several other artists started a school of art in the camp and taught 600 students. When the camps were finally closed, he returned to his teaching position at UC Berkeley. His love of nature continued to be the main influence in his work.

His majestic paintings can be seen hanging in the De Young Museum. 

To learn more about Mr. Obata go to