Japanese American National Museum
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Okubo, Benji [ bio ]

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California, 1927-1941


Gift of Chisato Okubo


Stretched and framed.

Unvarnished head and shoulder portrait of a woman in profile wearing a blue-gray top with white lace trim collar on gray-green hued background. The left side of the woman's profile is shown, with her head slightly turned toward the viewer. The image is cropped at the top of her and back of her hair, so that her profile dominates the canvas. The painting is rendered with softly muted colors with the exception of the woman's lips which are bright coral. The background of the painting is gray-green, allowing the peachy-pink of the woman's face to stand out. The brush strokes in the background and large sections of the face are smooth and modeled. The brushwork indicating finer facial details such as the curve of the nose, arch of the brow, waves of the hair, and folds of the eye are rendered in delicate and linear contour lines.

The painting is done in a realistic style, with traces of Asian calligraphic brush strokes in the fine details. The expression on the woman's face is particularly interesting. Her chin is raised, her lips slightly parted, her eye is strongly fixed and her brown is furrowed. She appears to be uncomfortable or in slight distress. The artist has painted a psychological portrait of a woman caught in a private moment of time.

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Collections Management & Access Unit at the Japanese American National Museum (



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