What's Happening in Asian Art...

Thomsen Gallery at the Armory Show

September 7, 2021

Minol Araki (1928-2010), Reflected Rainbow, 1977, Ink and colors on paper, 16¼ x 73 inches (41 x 185.5 cm), courtesy of Thomsen Gallery.

Thomsen Gallery at the Armory Show
September 9 - 12
Javits Center, New York

Thomsen Gallery is pleased to participate again in The Armory Show, which this year takes place at the New York Javits Center.

Thomsen Gallery is pleased to participate again in The Armory Show, which this year takes place at the New York Javits Center. Our exhibition in Booth 219 focuses on works by three leading post-war and contemporary Japanese artists: Minol Araki (1928–2010), whose landscapes evoke the world of the Chinese scholar-artist; Shigeki Kitani (1928–2009), a member of the avant-garde Gutai group, whose canvases combine rugged materiality with wistful lyricism; and Sueharu Fukami (b. 1947), whose elegant, curvilinear porcelain sculptures have earned him an unmatched global following.

Exhibition hours:
Thursday, September 9: VIP Preview Day
Friday, September 10: 12–8pm
Saturday, September 11: 12–8pm
Sunday, September 12: 12–7pm

For more information, click here.

Object in focus

September 3, 2021

Sako Ryuhei (b. 1976), Mokume-gane Uchidashi Vase 02, 2020, silver, copper, shakudo, shibuichi and kuromido, H 7 x dia. 5 1/8 in. (18 x 13.1 cm.), courtesy of Onishi Gallery

Sako Ryuhei (b. 1976), born in Okayama Prefecture, graduated from Hiroshima City University in the Department of Design and Applied Arts in 1999, and then earned his master's degree in 2002 from the same institution. Sako Ryuhei creates pieces using Mokume-gane, a Japanese metal technique dating back to the 17th century. First, very thin different colored alloyed metal sheets are layered and bonded. Then the layers are cut into, or drilled, and reworked. Achieving a successful lamination takes a very skilled artist, and although his work is based on research and experimentation using this traditional process, he manages to create very contemporary pieces. In 2004, he became a member of the Nihon Kōgeikai (Japanese Handcrafts Association) and in 2013, during his first exhibition outside Japan, the Victoria and Albert Museum purchased one of his pieces for their public collection.

Selected Public Collections:
Metropolitan Museum of Art | New York
Hiroshima City University | Hiroshima, Japan
Machiko Hasegawa Art Museum | Tokyo, Japan
Victoria and Albert Museum | London, UK

For more information, click here.

Two exhibitions on view now

September 2, 2021

courtesy of Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd.

Terraform: Depictions of Earth in Japanese Ceramics from 1970
September 2 - 29, 2021
Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd.

The exhibition brings focus to Japanese ceramics that play upon the theme “Terraform.” Curated into two parts, the first group of works is bound by the theme “Memories of the Earth”, articulating the relationship between time, memory, earth, and clay. The sculptural forms from the ceramicists Suzuki Osamu 鈴木 藏 (b. 1934, LNT), Hiruma Kazuyo 昼馬 和代 (b. 1947) in this group respond to the wonders of the natural landscape in their work. The second group of works surrounds “Earthen Images,” tying together representations of the earth via image, pictorial forms, and surfacescape from the ceramic works of Murata Gen 村田 元 (1904-1988) and Wakao Toshisada 若尾 利貞 (b. 1933). From form to image, this exhibition enquires into the literal, affectual, sculptural and representational ways that clay may be used to envision the earth.

For more information, click here.

Moonlit Night
September 2 - October 5, 2021
Ippodo Gallery

Ken Matsubara, b. 1948, Crescent Moon, painting H 70 7/8 x W 46 1/8 in (180 x 117 cm.), courtesy of Ippodo Gallery

Autumn is one of the most poetic and enriching seasons in Japan. When the crop is cultivated, gorgeous foliages bloom, and many traditions have been passed down to celebrate and remember this season. When the moon is particularly stunning, the fall season is a time for festivals such as Choyo-no-sekku and Jogoya. In honor of the season, people drink sake with chrysanthemum petals and stroll through the Susuki gardens. Ippodo Gallery, New York, is pleased to welcome you to Moonlit Night, a selection of crafts that celebrates this Otsukimi season.

For more information, click here.

A Photographer’s Dream: A Leica Cafe Opens at The Songtsam Lodge Lhasa in Tibet

August 27, 2021

interior of the Leica Cafe at The Songtsam Lodge Lhasa

The award-winning luxury hotel group, Songtsam Hotels Resorts Tours in Tibet and Yunnan Provinces of China, and the world renowned Leica Akademie announced the official opening of the new Leica Cafe at the Songtsam Lodge Lhasa in Tibet. This initiative represents a continuation of the creative partnership between Songtsam and Leica.

Songtsam Founder & Chairman, Baima Duoji, originally a documentary filmmaker himself, said “One of the best ways to learn about Tibetan culture and explore the amazing natural beauty of Tibet and Yunnan, is through a camera lens. We are proud to continue our partnership with Leica to provide such a unique space for photographers, as well as non- photographers, to enjoy Leica Cafe’s unique collection of historic photographs as well as antique Leica cameras, and to provide photography buffs an opportunity to learn from Leica Akademie’s Master Photographers.”

The Leica Cafe is a photography enthusiast’s biggest dream and a great introduction and starting point to explore Tibet. This is the world’s first Leica collaboration space and boasts albums full of breathtaking photographs, vintage and antique Leica cameras, and unique historical images with remarkable stories behind them. For Leica and Songtsam this image space is unlike any other. The Leica Cafe is located in the foyer of the Songtsam Lodge Lhasa, a Tibetan-style building which integrates the architectural styles of palaces, temples, aristocratic residences and gardens. Every month the Cafe will hold photography lectures hosted by Leica’s master photographers. This will allow photography buffs a unique opportunity to learn from professionals how to apply these skills in the real world.

For more information about Songtsam visit www.songtsam.com/en/about

Object in focus

August 20, 2021

Women at the Well, Attributed to Mihr Chand, Mughal, Faizabad, Awadh, ca. 1765-70, Ink and opaque watercolor with gold on paper, 8 1⁄2 x 3 1/8 in. (20.5 x 13 cm.), courtesy of Kapoor Galleries

George Halla, Czech Republic consul to New South Wales, 1948.
Thence by descent.
Private collection, Sydney.

This masterful painting is an intriguing variant of a scene drawn from Indian literature and popularized in numerous 17th- and 18th-century Mughal paintings, that is, the chance encounter between a noble out hunting blackbuck and a comely village maiden at a well. Sparks of attraction fly as the man locks eyes with the woman pouring water to slake his thirst. The hunter, who is normally mounted and armed with a bow and arrow, pointedly relinquishes the physical advantage of his higher social station by having to reach up to the woman on the wellhead. In this iteration, however, that nobleman stands directly on the ground, holding only a long spear, and is accompanied by two unlikely fellow travelers: a mulla tendering a small covered bowl in his raised hand, and a tribal man with a shaved head, bare chest, and a grass lower garment. Surprisingly, it is the latter figure who reaches around the nobleman to extend a gourd-shaped cup to accept the gift of water, in effect displacing the customary romantic charge of village hospitality.

As usual, the woman pouring out refreshment is juxtaposed with two others hauling up water. Inventively, he assigns prominent positions in the composition to two other figures who bookend the panoply of village life: a naked, European-inspired toddler plunked down beside a basket and amusedly feeding a pair of ducks, and an old woman seated on a low stool passing time in spinning while she minds the infant. The exceptionally sensitive rendering of the dowager’s aged face and body is matched by the remarkably well-observed account of the utilitarian objects she holds – a spindle wound with cotton thread in her right hand and a wooden niddy-noddy supporting two skeins of thread in her left.

The only 18th-century artist skilled enough to begin to approximate the subtle sense of light and shadow, soft contours, muted palette, and stippled surface of the present painting is Mihr Chand (active ca. 1759-86), who worked for Nawab Shuja‘ al-Dawla and the Swiss adventurer Antoine Polier at Faizabad, the one-time capital of Awadh. Mihr Chand’s diverse artistic interests and high level of technical accomplishment allowed him to paint in a number of different manners, many of which feature hard-edged forms, pronounced shadows, and deep landscapes with low horizons. Others are conspicuously softer in style, as seen here in the faces of the nobleman and tribal figure.
By Dr. John Seyller

For more information, click here.

The recording of our webinar, The Color that Changed the World: The Impact of Blue in Asian Art is online

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797−1858), Kinkizan on Enoshima Island in Sagami Province (Sōshū Enoshima Kinkizan), Color woodblock print: aiban yoko-e uchiwa-e, 8⅞ x 11½ in. (22.5 x 29.2 cm), courtesy of Sebastian Izzard LLC Asian Art

The recording of our July 29th Zoom webinar, The Color that Changed the World: The Impact of Blue in Asian Art, a fascinating discussion by five expert panelists about this topic, is available to view on our website.

Click here to watch the webinar

TAI Modern Virtual Artist Talk: Isohi Setsuko on Wednesday, August 18

August 16, 2021

Isohi Setsuko, Blooming Garden, 2019, madake bamboo, rattan, 5.75 x 12.50 x 6.50 in., courtesy of TAI Modern

TAI Modern Virtual Artist Talk: Isohi Setsuko
Wednesday, August 18
4:00pm PST / 5:00pm MST / 6:00pm CST / 7:00pm EST

Join Japanese bamboo artist Isohi Setsuko in her studio in Otawara-Shi for a discussion of works in her solo exhibition on view through August 28th. Viewers will have the opportunity to hear Isohi talk about her process and inspiration. Discussion and Q&A will follow.

To register now, https://events.eventzilla.net/e/isohi-setsuko-artist-talk-2138802655

Thomas Murray is participating in the Santa Fe Virtual Show from August 11-15 (Booth 31).

August 13, 2021

Sora langi woman’s tube skirt (opened), Toraja, Sulawesi, Second half 19th Century, 72 x 56 in / 183 x 145 cm, courtesy of Thomas Murray.

Thomas Murray is taking part in Santa Fe Virtual Show from August 11-15 (Booth 31).

One of the piece in the show is this Sora langi. This is the name of a rectangular cloth that could be stitched up on the vertical seam and worn as a tube skirt, however many were kept as flat textiles and used ceremonially. These are relatively rare and comparatively early, with this most likely dating to the mid 19th Century. It is thought that they were woven in Galumpang to the taste of the ethnic groups living to the north in the Bada, Napu and other valleys. The colors are deep and the fine line progressions offer a very fine aesthetic.

Click here to view show website

New exhibition at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

August 12, 2021

Utagawa Hiroshige. Ferry Boats on the Fuji River in Suruga Province. Japanese. ca. 1832. Color woodblock print. 9 1/4 x 14 5/8 inches (23.495 x 37.1475 cm). Courtesy of Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Origins: Collecting to Create the Nelson-Atkins
August 14 - March 6, 2022

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City opened its doors in 1933, but the collection was beginning to be built at a frantic pace three years prior. The new exhibition, Origins: Collecting to Create the Nelson-Atkins, explores the very beginnings of the collection as well as the people who made choices about what types of art to collect, the challenges and opportunities of acquiring art during the Great Depression, and the vast diversity of the museum’s first objects. There are more than 50 artworks in the exhibition, most of them acquired in the museum’s first 10 years.

The Nelson-Atkins is the legacy of two Kansas Citians: newspaper publisher William Rockhill Nelson and retired teacher Mary Atkins. Both left funds upon their deaths to create an art museum in Kansas City: Atkins’ money for a building, and Nelson’s to acquire art. The group who managed Nelson’s estate were responsible for assembling the future museum’s art collection.

“Laurence Sickman was one of the museum’s first advisors on Asian art,” said MacKenzie Mallon, Provenance Specialist at the Nelson-Atkins. “He acquired much of the museum’s foundational Chinese art collection, including some of its most important works, and became our first Curator of Asian Art in 1935.”

For more details, https://nelson-atkins.org/exhibitions/origins/

There's only one week left to view the Asia Week New York Summer Exhibition

August 9, 2021

A Safavid cobalt-backed blue-and-white pottery dish, Persia, probably Kirman, mid-seventeenth century, 41.5 cm., 16 1/8 in. diameter; 8 cm., 3 1/8 in. height, courtesy of Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch Ltd.

This dish is one of the works of Asian art featured in the exhibition, illustrating the beauty and range of material where the color blue is used as the primary decorative motif. Others include Chinese blue and white porcelain, contemporary Japanese ceramics and glass, Japanese prints and more.

The recording of our July 29th Zoom webinar, The Color that Changed the World: The Impact of Blue in Asian Art, a fascinating discussion by five expert panelists about this topic, will be available to view on our website very soon.

Object in Focus

Oribe Mukouzuke-Chaire, Momoyama - Early Edo Period, Early 17th century, Japan, 10cm High x 8.2cm Wide, courtesy of Zetterquist Galleries

This delightful little object illustrates the playful, innovative side of Oribe ceramics in the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Originally produced as a small basket-form food bowl in the early 17th century, it was later repurposed as a tea caddy, with the addition of the lacquered ebony lids. A combination of the russet glaze of the handle and the green glazed stripes on the body have melded during the firing and created ruby red drips at the bottom, a fortuitous gift from the kiln gods!

It is an early Narumi-type Oribe basket-shaped bowl of double lozenge form, with high-arched rust colored handle that spans the center. The underside is flat, and has a recessed circular underfoot with turned pin lines typical of Oribe pieces of this early period. The underside is unglazed, revealing a light brown clay body. The interior is buff and white, with soft transitions from flat bottom to vertical walls. The exterior sides are buff colored and decorated with stripes, hanging fruit and a single plum blossom outlined in black and highlighted in white and celadon green glaze. The celadons mix with the iron oxide to pool in rare ruby-red droplets near the foot. A flat wooden lid is custom fitted to the top, and splits in two at the handle, to allow use as a tea caddy for the Japanese tea ceremony. In a fitted lacquer box with silver inlay inscription, “Oribe”.

A double-lozenge form bowl with handle was excavated in the Nakano-cho site in Kyoto City, and is published in “Momoyama Tea Utensils: A New View”, Nezu Museum Tokyo 2018. pg. 60. Another larger example is published in “Turning Point; Oribe and the Arts of the 16th Century Japan”, Yale University Press 2003. pl. 64. See Nippon Touji Zenshu, Chuo Publishing 1976 pl. 16 for similar countersunk foot with pin lines on a similarly dated mukouzuke.

Provenance: Niiseki Kinya Collection, Yokohama Japan.

For more information, click here.

New Arrivals at Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd.

August 9, 2021

Shimaoka Tatsuzō, (1919-2007), Living National Treasure, H9" x Dia 8.5" x Lip 5" (H22.8 x Dia 21.5 x Lip Dia 12.7cm), Glazed stoneware with signed wood box, Ash Glazed Jar With Carved Design, Courtesy of Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd.

Shown above is one of the new arrivals at Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd. An original early creation of Shimaoka Tatsizo, LNT (1919-2007), this wheel thrown jar showcases a rich green ash glaze. The three waved pattern carved underneath the glaze adds to the dynamic character of the jar. A student of Hamada Shoji, Shimaoka Tatsuzo is nominated as Living National Treasure as well for his contribution to the Mingei movement in Mashiko ceramics.

For more information, click here.

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