What's Happening in Asian Art...: Asian Art History

Object in Focus

November 12, 2021

Samurai armor with dō-maru, Early Edo period, 17th-18th century, courtesy of Giuseppe Piva Japanese Art

Certificate: The armor is accompanied by a certificate of registration as Koshu Tokubetsu Kicho Shiryo (Especially Important Armor Object) no. 1277 issued by the Nihon Katchu Bugu Kenkyu Hozon Kai (Japanese Armor Preservation Society), 2020.11.01

This flamboyant Samurai armor is entirely made of small individual scales (hon-kozane), lacquered in black and gold and laced together with blue, orange, and white silk, in order to create a multicolored pattern.

The helmet (kabuto) is very elaborate, of suji-bachi construction, made of 62 plates joined with hammered rivets, with three gilt-copper shinodare, descending in the front from a rich tehen-no-kanamono (decorative fittings around the edge of the opening at the top of the helmet). The maedate (front ornament) is a classical ken-kuwagata, with stylized horns and a votive sword. The neck protection (shikoro) has the same color-scheme as the whole armor. The cuirass () is of dō-maru type and made into a single piece with individual small scales laced together, which were used in the early suits of armor. As expected in an armor of the early Edo period, the shoulder guards (chū-sode) are small, and the neck protection is of the hineno-type, following the shape of the shoulders.

The suit of armor bears a rare samurai family crest in the design of three white oak leaves. This appears not only on the helmet’s flanges (fukigaeshi), but also on all the gilt-copper support plates (kanamono) of the cuirass.

For more information, click here

Paul Binnie Prints on View at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

October 29, 2021

For those of you who haven't been able to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York recently, we are very pleased to share that works from artist and collector Paul Binnie's completed series, A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo are on view until December 5th in the Japanese Galleries as part of the third rotation of the current exhibition, Japan: A History of Style. The prints are brilliantly displayed side-by-side with stunning examples of ukiyo-e masterpieces that inspired Binnie's compositions—in a way that very few museums would have the ability to do. The complete edition was acquired from Scholten Japanese Art by the Department of Asian Art at the MET thanks to the enthusiasm of John T. Carpenter (the Mary Griggs Burke Curator of Japanese Art) who spotted the prints in their 2017 exhibition: The Body Illustrated: Woodblock Prints, Paintings & Drawings by Paul Binnie.

Autumn exhibition 2021 at Francesca Galloway

October 21, 2021

A raja receives two courtiers by night, possibly from the ‘Small Guler’ Bhagavata Purana series, attributed to the Guler artist Manaku and his family, c. 1740-50, Opaque pigments and gold on paper, 17.8 × 28.2 cm, including a narrow orange border, Inscribed in Devanagari on the verso (wrongly): 3 Raga Hindola; Provenance: Ludwig Habighorst collection

October 18 - November 27, 2021

To view the online catalogue, click here

The exhibition is on view Monday-Friday 10am - 5pm
at Francesca Galloway,1st Floor, 31 Dover Street - London W1S 4ND
(appointments preferred).

Five Asia Week New York galleries in the Madison Avenue Fall Gallery Walk
October 23, 2021

October 18, 2021

Minol Araki (1928-1210), Cliff and Rice Paddy (detail), 1976, Hanging scroll; ink and mineral colors on paper, Overall size 51¼ x 25½ in. (130.2 x 65 cm), courtesy of Thomsen Gallery

This free event invites the public to visit participating galleries, view their fall exhibitions and attend expert talks led by artists and curators on Madison Avenue & side streets from East 57 to East 86 St.

Due to limited capacity, registration is required to reserve your space at each participating gallery. Galleries are listed in alphabetical order. To register, please click on the green “Book Now” button below. Each gallery visit booking must be done separately.

Book Now

DAG, 41 East 57 Street, Suite 708 (Madison-Park) (11am-6pm)
The Wonder of India at DAG’s New York gallery presents a selection of works that span the diverse strands of modernism that developed at art centers across India through the 19th and 20th centuries. Including Company paintings, Kalighat Pats, Bengal School, tantra and abstract movements, and the lens of cubism and primitivism – the show is a document of India over two centuries from the introduction of Western academic realism to the Indian vernacular.

Gallery Talk: 12pm, 2pm, 3pm & 5pm: An introduction to different strands of modernism in India in the 19th and 20th centuries, through the lens of the exhibition on view including works by Jamini Roy, MF Husain, Company paintings, amongst many others.

Ippodo Gallery, 32 East 67 Street (Madison-Park) (11am-6pm)
Ippodo Gallery and Barry Friedman Ltd. are pleased to present their first collaborative exhibition: Massimo Micheluzzi: Master of Venetian Glass. The imaginative displays of vases will fill the serene space of Ippodo Gallery. We invite you to see the juxtaposition of a Venetian artist in what may seem to be an unusual space. Witness the transcendence of forms and colors. The variety of shapes and patterns create a lovely amalgamation of ultramodern landscapes. This extensive collection contains about 40 pieces from Barry Friedman Ltd.’s collection and new works which have just arrived from Venice. Massimo Micheluzzi (b.1957) uses traditional techniques to achieve a uniquely modern aesthetic.

Gallery Talk: 3pm: Throughout the exhibition, one can see Micheluzzi’s transformation while keeping with the time-honored Muranese glassmaking methods. This talk will walk through Micheluzzi’s evolution from his earlier monochromatic vessels to pieces that mimic terrazzo, marble, and intarsio inlay.

Kapoor Galleries, 34 East 67 Street, Floor 3 (Madison-Park) (11am-5pm)
Kapoor Galleries presents Incarnations of Devotion for the Madison Avenue Fall 2021 Gallery Walk. The exhibition features an array of Indian miniature paintings as well as a carefully curated selection of artworks from India, Nepal, Tibet and Southeast Asia. Highlights of the exhibition include a bronze Chola-period sculpture of Parvati with 1950s provenance; several outstanding Tibeto-Chinese scroll paintings depicting arhats and tantric deities; and a rare ninth- or tenth-century bronze figure of Tara from Kashmir.

Gallery Talk: 1pm: Come view our Incarnations of Devotion exhibition as gallery owner Sanjay Kapoor provides an overview of the fine Indian miniature paintings in the exhibition as well as a discussion of the carefully curated selection of artworks from India, Nepal, Tibet and Southeast Asia.

Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery, 24 East 64 Street (Madison-Fifth) (11am-6pm)
The “Aged Innocence” series emerged from the NY-based artist’s photo journeys across China, his homeland, between 2013 and 2017. He created a massive image archive in response to the dramatic socio-economic changes he witnessed. The exhibition features over 50 personal images of the historically and culturally complex locales and their inhabitants in the format of small prints and large collages.

Gallery Talk: 2pm & 4pm: Please join us for an informal artist talk by Hai Zhang who will walk you through his current solo exhibition, exploring the concept of memory and practices behind his work. Please feel free to ask him questions.

Thomsen Gallery, 9 East 63 Street (Madison-Fifth) (11am-6pm)
Nature in Ink: Landscape paintings by Minol Araki

Gallery Talk: 11am, 2pm & 4pm: Life and work of Minol Araki (1928-2010), a Japanese artist who painted for pleasure in the Asian literati tradition while being a successful industrial designer.

Asia Week New York Zooms in on The Luxurious Garden and the Gratification of Retreat
Thursday, October 28, 5:00 p.m. EST

October 15, 2021

Portland Japanese Garden (Courtesy Portland Japanese Garden)

For centuries people have looked to nature and gardens to provide emotional support, a place to gather to mark important events in their lives, or as an escape from the finite walls of their homes. In The Luxurious Garden and the Gratification of Retreat, a distinguished panel of eminently qualified experts will discuss the origins of these luxurious spaces–designed in the Japanese and Chinese tradition–and their impact on visitors throughout the ages.

“Who at one time or another hasn’t sought out a garden to provide something that enhances their lives?” asks Andrew Lueck, Specialist, Vice President, Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art at Christie’s, who will moderate the discussion. “Whether it’s a tranquil setting at a museum, such as The Astor Court at The Met; the rolling hills of the Huntington Gardens; the waterfall at the Portland Japanese Garden; a private residential refuge; or in their absence, an evocative Japanese woodblock print of a Zen garden, outdoor settings have been providing us with areas of welcome refuge and retreat for centuries.”

Liu Fang Yuan, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA
Photograph by Phillip E. Bloom, November 2020

The panel includes:

Phillip E. Bloom, the June and Simon K.C. Li Curator of the Chinese Garden and Director of the Center for East Asian Garden Studies at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA. A specialist in the history of Buddhist art, gardens, and designed landscapes of China's Song dynasty (960–1279), he received his Ph.D. in Chinese art history from Harvard University in 2013. Prior to joining The Huntington, he served as assistant professor of East Asian art history at Indiana University, Bloomington, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Tokyo. His exhibition, A Garden of Words: The Calligraphy of Liu Fang Yuan, is currently on display at The Huntington.

Maxwell K. (Mike) Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman, Department of Asian Art, began working at the Metropolitan Museum in 1971, helping oversee the expansion of the Met’s collection of Chinese art as well as major additions to its exhibition spaces, including the Astor Chinese Garden Court, the Douglas Dillon Galleries, and the renovated and expanded galleries for Chinese painting and calligraphy. He has worked on over 50 exhibitions and authored or contributed to numerous catalogues many of which have become essential resources for the study of Chinese art including The Great Bronze Age of China (1980), Splendors of Imperial China: Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei (1996), Along the Riverbank: Chinese Paintings from the C. C. Wang Family Collection (1999), How to Read Chinese Paintings (2008) and Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China (2013). Mike, who received his undergraduate degree in art history from Yale University and his Ph.D. from Princeton, has taught graduate and undergraduate seminars on Chinese painting at Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. In 2014 he was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Marc Peter Keane is a landscape architect, artist and writer based in Kyoto, Japan. His work is deeply informed by Japanese aesthetics and design: simplicity, serendipity, off-balance balance, and natural patinas. Working in situations as diverse as a 350-year-old house in Japan and a contemporary museum in the United States, he designs singular gardens that are both beautiful and contemplative. Keane is also known for his ceramic sculptures and his many books on Japanese gardens and nature including, Japanese Garden Notes, Japanese Tea Gardens, and The Art of Setting Stones.

Andrew M. Lueck has worked in the Asian art auction business for nearly two decades. He is a Specialist, Vice President, in Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art at Christie’s. He resides near San Francisco and works with West Coast collectors and institutions as well as others throughout the country and globe. He has been responsible for bringing to market notable fine Chinese works of art for sale in New York as well as Hong Kong and advises and works with some of the country’s top collectors and institutions.

Since 1999, Katherine Martin has served as the Managing Director of Scholten Japanese Art, one of New York’s preeminent galleries specializing in traditional and contemporary Japanese prints. Prior to her role as managing director, she was a specialist in the Japanese Department at Sotheby's New York, from 1993 to 1999. During her tenure, Ms. Martin was the primary contact for the sale of the Donna and the Late Arthur Levis Collection of Yoshitoshi Woodblock Prints and the New York representative for the London auction of Highly Important Japanese Prints from the Henri Vever Collection. She was also the specialist responsible for the series of auctions of inro, netsuke, and works of art from the Collection of the Late Charles A. Greenfield. Ms. Martin has written several catalogs published by Scholten Japanese Art, including the ongoing series focused on woodblock prints, Highlights of Japanese Printmaking, for which the most recent volume, Part Five-YOSHITOSHI, was released in March 2017. She recently concluded her two-year term as the chairman of Asia Week New York.

Sadafumi (Sada) Uchiyama served as Garden Curator for 2008-2020 and is currently the Chief Curator at the Portland Japanese Garden. Sada is a registered landscape architect and a fourth-generation Japanese gardener from southern Japan. He is devoted to fostering relations between Japanese gardens in Japan and those outside of Japan. He has taught landscape design courses and lectured on Japanese gardening at colleges and public gardens through the United States and Japan. His representative projects include the renovation of the Osaka Garden, the site of the 1893 Great Columbian Exposition at Jackson Park in Chicago, Japanese gardens at the Denver Botanic Gardens, Duke University in NC, and Wellfield Botanic Garden in Indiana.

To reserve a space for this webinar, click here

Fall 2021 exhibitions - Kaikodo: An Autumn Excursion

October 13, 2021

Aoki Shukuya (1737-1802), The Red Cliff after Wen Zhengming (detail)

The exhibition begins with a selection of Japanese paintings inspired by our particular fascination with an 18th-century painting by the Japanese artist Aoki Shukuya. Shukuya created his “Red Cliff'' after a painting of the subject by one of China’s most celebrated Ming literati painters, Wen Zhengming. Wen’s painting had been inspired by an iconic prose-poem written by the peerless Su Shi of the Northern Song in which Su recounts an autumn boating excursion to a historic Han dynasty site on the Yangzi River.

Not only was Shukuya’s painting a perfect confluence of forces and forms across time and space, deeply meaningful in our field, but it also suggested a perfect way for us to reflect on autumn, with further Japanese works celebrating the season. The Chinese paintings are all from the Ming dynasty, honoring Wen’s role, whereas the works of art were chosen to spark and provide interest and enjoyment. At a time when we would like to travel more than we are able, we are grateful for the artists who invite us on this autumn excursion through their works and the wider world of our imaginations.

To view the exhibition click here

Fall 2021 exhibitions - The Art of Japan: New Acquisitions

October 13, 2021

Kuniyoshi (1798 - 1861), An Evening View of Hatcho Dike, 1847-48, Woodblock Print, 14.25 x 29 in (36.20 x 73.66 cm)

50 newly acquired prints have been added including: two rarely seen Eisen Tanzaku-e; a vibrant Yoshiharu Circus triptych; Kunisada deluxe portraits published by Kinshodo; a Sadahide fan print; works by Yoshitoshi, Kuniyoshi, and many others. The illustrated triptych by Kuniyoshi is an extremely rare bijin night triptych with a wonderful moody background.

To see the prints, click here

Zoom panel discussion at Joan B Mirviss LTD

October 7, 2021

Kitagawa Utamaro (1754-1806), The Courtesan Hanamurasaki of the Tama Establishment Touching Her Brush to Her Lips, from the series The Seven Komachi of the Licensed Quarters, ca. 1796 (1980.3217). E.B. Van Vleck Collection at the Chazen Museum of Art.

Cornerstone of Collecting
Thursday October 14 at 5pm EDT
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Japanese Prints and Their Inspirational Legacy
at the Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Celebrated for his genius at both architecture and design, Frank Lloyd Wright was also an avid collector and dealer of Japanese woodblock prints. In the late 1920s, mathematics professor Edward Burr Van Vleck acquired approximately 4,000 of Frank Lloyd Wright’s prints, which became the foundation of his own significant collection. This extensive collection of ukiyo-e was eventually donated by his heirs to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he had taught for many years.

In our next Zoom panel event, curators and scholars will discuss the legacy of this important collection, its critical role at a teaching institution, and the challenges of stewardship in the 21st century.

Amy Gilman, Director of the Chazen Museum of Art
Laura Mueller, Independent curator of Japanese art
Quitman (Gene) Phillips, Professor emeritus in Japanese art at University of Wisconsin-Madison
James Wehn, Van Vleck Curator of Works on Paper, Chazen Museum of Art
Moderated by Joan Mirviss

Click here to register for the event

iGavel Auctions Asian Decorative Arts Sale Opens for Bidding October 5-20,2021

October 4, 2021

A yellow Chinese Jade Brushwasher with Rams, Qing Dynasty (Estimate: $10,000/15,000)

Lark Mason Associates is pleased to announce that its autumn 2021 Asian art sale opens for bidding on October 5th through October 21st on iGavel Auctions. With over 500 lots on sale, the auction centers around a strong collection of approximately 70 archaic and later jades that were purchased mainly in the 1970's from reputable sources, including Christie's, Sotheby's, Spink & Son's and other galleries. Many jades have a copy of the original invoice and often the original sale date and lot number. The collection features several examples of yellow jade, including a beautiful yellow jade water coupe carved with three rams that dates to the Qianlong period. It also includes several archaic jade blades, cong-form carvings and a Huang- form jade dating to the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). Rounding out the sale are over 100 lots of Japanese arms, including swords, blades, tsubas and other sword fittings, dating from the 15th-19th centuries.

A large 17th/18th century Chinese Bronze Jardiniere, (Estimate: $20,000-40,000)

Among the top highlights are a large 17th/18th century Chinese Bronze Jardiniere, (Estimate: $20,000-40,000); a green Chinese Jade Brush Pot, Republic Period (1912-1949), (Estimate: $12,000-18,000); a yellow Chinese Jade Brushwasher with Rams, Qianlong Period (1735-1796), (Estimate: $10,000/15,000); an 18th/19th century Chinese Red and Black Lacquer Table Cabinet, (Estimate: $8,000/12,000.

The Japanese arms and armor will be on display at the Braunfels, Texas sales room, 210 W. Mill Street. Hours are Monday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The New York sales room, located at 227 E. 120th Street, is open by appointment only. Phone 212-289-5524 or visit office@larkmason.com


Highlights of the New York September Asian Art auctions

October 1, 2021

A Partial Chinese Imperial Falangcai European-Subject Porcelain Vase, Qianlong four-character seal mark in blue and of the period, Height 4 7/8 inches, width overall 4 inches. Doyle, Asian Art sale, lot 189.

A rare and important Chinese Imperial falangcai vase achieved the week’s top price, $2.45 million at Doyle’s Asian Works of Art auction. It is one of a rare group of wares created during the reign of Qianlong (1735-1796), of which there are very few extant examples. The vase was the star of the collection of Belk department store heiress and philanthropist Sarah Belk Gambrell (1918-2020). Determined bidders from around the globe competing via telephone sent the vase soaring over its pre-sale estimate of $100,000/300,000.

The highlight of the sales at Bonhams was a gilt copper alloy figure of Yamantaka Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali, Ming dynasty, 15th Century, which fetched $687,812 in the Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Works of Art sale. Unusually large in scale at a foot and half high, the figure was exhibited in the National Palace Museum in Taipei in 1987 as part of a landmark exhibition dedicated to Buddhist Art from the prestigious Nitta Group Collection (lot 1207, est. $600/800,000).

Paintings from their sale, The Reverend Richard Fabian Collection of Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy III were sought after, particularly a hanging scroll in ink and color on paper by the well-known modern artist Huang Binhong (1865-1955). The work brought $275,312, far more than the $100/150,000 estimate (lot 11).

One of the top lots in the Important Japanese Art sale at Christie's was an iron articulated sculpture of a mythical beast (Shachi) from the Edo period (18th century), signed Toto Ju Myochin Shikibu (Sosuke), which sold for $625,000, above the estimate of $120,000/170,000 (lot 12).

Jehangir Sabavala (1922-2011), The Embarkation, oil on canvas, 42 ¼ x 32 ¼ in. (107.3 x 81.9 cm.), Painted in 1965, Christie's, South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art, lot 624.

The week's highest price at the same house was $1,590,000 for The Embarkation, a much-published work by major modern artist, Jahangir Sabavala (1922-2011) in the South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art sale (lot 624, est. $300/500,000). The work achieved a world auction record for the artist. The painting, an oil on canvas, was painted in 1965, a period when Sabavala’s work underwent important changes.

Property from the Springfield Museums, sold to support art acquisitions and collections care, did very well in the house’s Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale. Two late Ming, 15th century gilt-bronze figures of deities did the best, selling for $1,158,000, more than double the $300/500,000 estimate (lot 601). They are notable for their large size and fine casting.

Chinese paintings were the stars at the Heritage Auctions Asian Art sale. Scholars and Attendants with Painting, a hanging scroll in ink and color on silk, attributed to 14th century artist Chen Yu (1313-1384), sold for $137,500, many times the $15/20,000 estimate (lot 78233).

Prices were very strong for many of the archaic bronzes from the MacClean Collection, sold in the Sotheby's sale of Important Chinese Art. The first lot, an extremely rare pair of late Shang Dynasty archaic bronze ritual vessels (ding), were the stars. They sold for $1,895,500, multiples of the $200/300,000 estimate. Not only do very few pairs of such vessels survive, but their inscriptions, Zi Gong, seem to have been rendered partly in mirrored image, identifying them as a true pair.

A Copper Alloy Figure of Vishnu, Bhudevi and Sridevi, South India, Vijayanagar, circa 14th/15th Century, Height of tallest 15 in. (38.1 cm), Sotheby's Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Works of Art, lot 371

The highest selling Indian & Southeast Asian antiquity in the recent week of sales was a copper alloy figure of Vishnu, Bhudevi and Sridevi, from South India, Vijayanagar, circa 14th/15th Century. It brought $685,500, a reflection of the rarity as well as the exceptional quality of the group (lot 371, estimate $200/300,000). The Alice Boney and Pan Asian Collection provenance was an additional asset.

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