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  • 08/22/14 - Dean R. Arner...   08/19-22/14 - James D. Julia, Inc....   08/23/14 - Rook Auction & Appraisal Service LLC...   08/23/14 - Smith Auction Company...   08/23/14 - Robert H. Clinton & Co., Inc. & Hahn Auction Co....   08/23/14 - Whitman Sink...   08/23/14 - Cindy Fenton...   08/22-23/14 - Ron Berger...   08/23/14 - Somers Auctioneering...   08/23/14 - Paladin Auctions...   08/23/14 - Dietrich's Auction Service...   08/23/14 - Martin Auctioneers, Inc....   08/23/14 - Horst Auctioneers...   08/23/14 - Keystone Auctions ...   08/23/14 - Probst Family Auctions...   08/23-24/14 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   08/24/14 - S & S Auction, Inc....   08/22-24/14 - Morphy Auctions...   08/25/14 - Boltz Auctions...   08/25/14 - Toomey Auction Service, Inc....   08/26/14 - Tom Lorah Auctions, LLC...   08/26/14 - Bristol Auction...   08/26/14 - Conestoga Auction Co., Inc....   08/26-28/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   08/28/14 - Rowe's Auction Service...   08/28/14 - John Hums Auctions...   08/29/14 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   08/29/14 - R. A. Arner Auctioneers, LLC...   08/30/14 - Scott Younkin & Associates...   08/30/14 - United Country Jelliff Auction Group, LLC...   08/30/14 - Roan Inc., Auctioneers & Appraisers...   08/30/14 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   08/29-30/14 - Joe R. Pyle Complete Auction & Realty Service...   08/30-31/14 - Morphy Auctions...   08/31/14 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   08/31/14 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   09/01/14 - Les Longenecker...   08/31-09/01/14 - Ron J. & Ron S. Gilligan & David Zentner...   08/30 & 09/1/14 - Hospice & Community Care...   09/01/14 - Rick Kress...   09/01/14 - Wilson's Auction Sales, Inc....   09/01/14 - John F. Kohler, Jr....   09/01/14 - Farmersville Auction, Inc....   09/01/14 - Hardys Auction...   09/01/14 - Dean R. Arner...   09/02/14 - Traver's Auctions...   09/03/14 - Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers ...   09/03/14 - Nico Auctions...   09/04/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   09/04/14 - Gallery at Knotty Pine Auction Service...   09/05/14 - Kline Kreider Good...   09/06/14 - Shenk Auction Co....   09/06/14 - Ed Shoop...   09/06/14 - Col. Lee M. Fox...   09/06/14 - Robert H. Clinton & Co., Inc. & Hahn Auction Co....   09/06/14 - Ralph D. Freed Auctioneers, Inc....   09/06/14 - Kerry Pae Auctioneers...   09/06/14 - Blums Auctions...   09/06/14 - Jessica Shaub Meyer...   09/06/14 - Larry Swartz...   09/06/14 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   09/06/14 - Maurer's Auctions...   09/07/14 - Rene Snyder...   09/07/14 - Delware Estate Sales...   09/08/14 - Estate Auction Company...   09/09-10/14 - Pook & Pook, Inc....   09/11/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   09/13/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   09/13/14 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   09/12-13/14 - Conestoga Auction Company, Inc....   09/12-14/14 - Rock Island Auction Company...   09/25/14 - Lawrence Antique Gallery...   09/27/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   10/04/14 - Les Longenecker...   10/11/-12/14 - Morphy Auctions...   10/18/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   10/25/14 - Crocker Farm...   11/22-23/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   
  • 08/22/14 - Dean R. Arner...   08/19-22/14 - James D. Julia, Inc....   08/23/14 - Rook Auction & Appraisal Service LLC...   08/23/14 - Smith Auction Company...   08/23/14 - Robert H. Clinton & Co., Inc. & Hahn Auction Co....   08/23/14 - Whitman Sink...   08/23/14 - Cindy Fenton...   08/22-23/14 - Ron Berger...   08/23/14 - Somers Auctioneering...   08/23/14 - Paladin Auctions...   08/23/14 - Dietrich's Auction Service...   08/23/14 - Martin Auctioneers, Inc....   08/23/14 - Horst Auctioneers...   08/23/14 - Keystone Auctions ...   08/23/14 - Probst Family Auctions...   08/23-24/14 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   08/24/14 - S & S Auction, Inc....   08/22-24/14 - Morphy Auctions...   08/25/14 - Boltz Auctions...   08/25/14 - Toomey Auction Service, Inc....   08/26/14 - Tom Lorah Auctions, LLC...   08/26/14 - Bristol Auction...   08/26/14 - Conestoga Auction Co., Inc....   08/26-28/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   08/28/14 - Rowe's Auction Service...   08/28/14 - John Hums Auctions...   08/29/14 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   08/29/14 - R. A. Arner Auctioneers, LLC...   08/30/14 - Scott Younkin & Associates...   08/30/14 - United Country Jelliff Auction Group, LLC...   08/30/14 - Roan Inc., Auctioneers & Appraisers...   08/30/14 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   08/29-30/14 - Joe R. Pyle Complete Auction & Realty Service...   08/30-31/14 - Morphy Auctions...   08/31/14 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   08/31/14 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   09/01/14 - Les Longenecker...   08/31-09/01/14 - Ron J. & Ron S. Gilligan & David Zentner...   08/30 & 09/1/14 - Hospice & Community Care...   09/01/14 - Rick Kress...   09/01/14 - Wilson's Auction Sales, Inc....   09/01/14 - John F. Kohler, Jr....   09/01/14 - Farmersville Auction, Inc....   09/01/14 - Hardys Auction...   09/01/14 - Dean R. Arner...   09/02/14 - Traver's Auctions...   09/03/14 - Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers ...   09/03/14 - Nico Auctions...   09/04/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   09/04/14 - Gallery at Knotty Pine Auction Service...   09/05/14 - Kline Kreider Good...   09/06/14 - Shenk Auction Co....   09/06/14 - Ed Shoop...   09/06/14 - Col. Lee M. Fox...   09/06/14 - Robert H. Clinton & Co., Inc. & Hahn Auction Co....   09/06/14 - Ralph D. Freed Auctioneers, Inc....   09/06/14 - Kerry Pae Auctioneers...   09/06/14 - Blums Auctions...   09/06/14 - Jessica Shaub Meyer...   09/06/14 - Larry Swartz...   09/06/14 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   09/06/14 - Maurer's Auctions...   09/07/14 - Rene Snyder...   09/07/14 - Delware Estate Sales...   09/08/14 - Estate Auction Company...   09/09-10/14 - Pook & Pook, Inc....   09/11/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   09/13/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   09/13/14 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   09/12-13/14 - Conestoga Auction Company, Inc....   09/12-14/14 - Rock Island Auction Company...   09/25/14 - Lawrence Antique Gallery...   09/27/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   10/04/14 - Les Longenecker...   10/11/-12/14 - Morphy Auctions...   10/18/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   10/25/14 - Crocker Farm...   11/22-23/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   
  • 08/22/14 - Dean R. Arner...   08/19-22/14 - James D. Julia, Inc....   08/23/14 - Rook Auction & Appraisal Service LLC...   08/23/14 - Smith Auction Company...   08/23/14 - Robert H. Clinton & Co., Inc. & Hahn Auction Co....   08/23/14 - Whitman Sink...   08/23/14 - Cindy Fenton...   08/22-23/14 - Ron Berger...   08/23/14 - Somers Auctioneering...   08/23/14 - Paladin Auctions...   08/23/14 - Dietrich's Auction Service...   08/23/14 - Martin Auctioneers, Inc....   08/23/14 - Horst Auctioneers...   08/23/14 - Keystone Auctions ...   08/23/14 - Probst Family Auctions...   08/23-24/14 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   08/24/14 - S & S Auction, Inc....   08/22-24/14 - Morphy Auctions...   08/25/14 - Boltz Auctions...   08/25/14 - Toomey Auction Service, Inc....   08/26/14 - Tom Lorah Auctions, LLC...   08/26/14 - Bristol Auction...   08/26/14 - Conestoga Auction Co., Inc....   08/26-28/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   08/28/14 - Rowe's Auction Service...   08/28/14 - John Hums Auctions...   08/29/14 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   08/29/14 - R. A. Arner Auctioneers, LLC...   08/30/14 - Scott Younkin & Associates...   08/30/14 - United Country Jelliff Auction Group, LLC...   08/30/14 - Roan Inc., Auctioneers & Appraisers...   08/30/14 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   08/29-30/14 - Joe R. Pyle Complete Auction & Realty Service...   08/30-31/14 - Morphy Auctions...   08/31/14 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   08/31/14 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   09/01/14 - Les Longenecker...   08/31-09/01/14 - Ron J. & Ron S. Gilligan & David Zentner...   08/30 & 09/1/14 - Hospice & Community Care...   09/01/14 - Rick Kress...   09/01/14 - Wilson's Auction Sales, Inc....   09/01/14 - John F. Kohler, Jr....   09/01/14 - Farmersville Auction, Inc....   09/01/14 - Hardys Auction...   09/01/14 - Dean R. Arner...   09/02/14 - Traver's Auctions...   09/03/14 - Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers ...   09/03/14 - Nico Auctions...   09/04/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   09/04/14 - Gallery at Knotty Pine Auction Service...   09/05/14 - Kline Kreider Good...   09/06/14 - Shenk Auction Co....   09/06/14 - Ed Shoop...   09/06/14 - Col. Lee M. Fox...   09/06/14 - Robert H. Clinton & Co., Inc. & Hahn Auction Co....   09/06/14 - Ralph D. Freed Auctioneers, Inc....   09/06/14 - Kerry Pae Auctioneers...   09/06/14 - Blums Auctions...   09/06/14 - Jessica Shaub Meyer...   09/06/14 - Larry Swartz...   09/06/14 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   09/06/14 - Maurer's Auctions...   09/07/14 - Rene Snyder...   09/07/14 - Delware Estate Sales...   09/08/14 - Estate Auction Company...   09/09-10/14 - Pook & Pook, Inc....   09/11/14 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   09/13/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   09/13/14 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   09/12-13/14 - Conestoga Auction Company, Inc....   09/12-14/14 - Rock Island Auction Company...   09/25/14 - Lawrence Antique Gallery...   09/27/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   10/04/14 - Les Longenecker...   10/11/-12/14 - Morphy Auctions...   10/18/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   10/25/14 - Crocker Farm...   11/22-23/14 - Fontaine's Auction Gallery...   
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Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco
Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco

April 3, 2012

Unique Collection Showcases Japanese Art Deco

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A thoroughly Japanese expression of the first truly global design style – Art Deco – came into being in the 1920s and 30s, when the luxe and the low, the old and the new, and the East and the West were shaken and stirred into a unique cultural cocktail.
This phenomenon is being considered by the Gallery at Japan Society in New York City in "Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945." The exhibit brings together fine examples of the sophisticated craftsmanship and design one associates with Japan – in ceramics, lacquerware, glass, metalwork, jewelry, textiles, sculpture, painting, and lithography – contextualized by colorful ephemera and goods mass-produced for the modern home. Some 200 works are drawn from the Levenson Collection, the world’s finest private holding of Japanese art and design from the Art Deco period.
The collection of Bob and Mary Levenson was built around a passion for the striking range of objects that were created in Japan at the height of the Art Deco period. Mary Levenson reminisces about the genesis of the collection. "In 1980 a poster of the three-eyed goblin Mitsume Kozo triggered Bob’s imagination and sent him on a voyage of collecting Japanese art for more than three decades. Bob began collecting netsuke, the beautifully carved toggle that helps support an inro, originally a tobacco or medicine pouch, on a man’s obi, or kimono sash. Very shortly, he became enamored with additional aspects of Japanese culture, and this fascination spread to woodblock prints, cloisonné, and other wonders created by master Japanese craftsmen. The art deco architecture of South Florida, where we live, also appealed to him and naturally these two interests fused into collecting Japanese art deco."
"But there was a problem," she continues, "it doesn’t exist – or so he was told repeatedly by multiple dealers of both Japanese art and art deco. On one occasion, he was literally shooed out of a fine antique shop in Kyoto with the protestation, ‘We have only real antiques here!’ Many dealers merely stated, "I’ve never heard of it." Having discovered the deco-inspired woodblock prints of Ishikawa Toraji and Kobayakawa Kiyoshi, Bob strongly suspected that Japanese art deco designs were to be found in other media. Slowly, over time, additional pieces came to light that fueled his interest and were in turn added to the collection. Gradually Japanese art from the deco era began to lure other collectors in Japan and the West."
All bangs, bob, and bright red lips, the modern girl, or moga, is undoubtedly the star of the show. As the primary subject as well as the primary consumer of Art Deco design in Japan, the moga appears on a vast majority of the works featured in "Deco Japan."
"Beginning in the early 20th century, Japanese women began to enter the work world in force, as typists shop assistants, office clerks, and the like," says guest curator Kendall H. Brown, Professor of Japanese Art History at California State University. "Their desire to display their newfound freedom helped to fuel the vitality of the era and spawn new floating works in the fashionable districts of Tokyo."
"In the late 20s and 30s,Tokyo was rebuilding and modernizing in the wake of the 1923 earthquake," notes Joe Earle, Director of Japan Society Gallery, who collaborated with Dr. Brown to organize the showing. "There was a pent-up desire, after years of hardship, to make, consume, and shake off tradition in favor of the new, modern way of living."
This thirst for the new, in tandem with other complex social forces, is examined in Deco Japan. "Rather than grouping by medium, we have juxtaposed different kinds of objects in order to shed light on the appropriations, formal strategies, and social context of Art Deco in Japan," says Dr. Brown.
Near the beginning of the show, visitors encounter a man’s kimono with a skyscraper motif and a delicately lacquered silver and gold box with a leaping Pegasus on its lid: just two examples of how Japanese artists of the period gave vitality to a variety of popular manias, whether it be for skyscrapers and Classicism or Egyptian art, Chinese antiquity, and horse racing.
The intricate diamond shapes of a cloisonné vase, the dots and swirls animating a glass bowl, and the hint of a metal mechanical spring in the autumnal cattails of a bronze tea ceremony screen. These and other visual riffs suggest what enormous pleasure the artists of the period must have derived from their new and inventive manipulation of form and pattern.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is lending five spectacular paintings for the exhibit at Japan Society. Originally displayed in the fashionable Gajoen hotel and wedding hall, one of the notable consumer sites in 1930s Tokyo, the panels depict the fashionably attired modern girl – skiing, sailing, celebrating Christmas, and visiting a tearoom. Here, rich hues and sinuous lines applied with mineral pigments and ink illustrate how naturally the precision of traditional Japanese painting lent itself to art deco streamlining.
The taste for the exotic is evident in many of the 20 sculptures (okimono) on view in the exhibition. Here, exotic and mythological beasts like lions, bulls, unicorns, and dragons are realized in a variety of ways, from a mass-produced powder blue ceramic bear to a pair of masterful silver and gold figures of paper cranes no larger than the palm of the hand!
In sharp distinction to the café culture values illustrated in one of the most expressive works in the exhibit – a color woodblock of the modern girl with a cocktail in a café - a good number of the featured works convey a militant nationalism. A phoenix on the lid of a round container, a ferocious dragon cast in bronze, and a heron snatching a fish in its beak atop a lacquered box. These subjects would have been clearly understood as symbols of imperial prestige and the will to power that characterized the years preceding and during World War II.
"Deco Japan’s" last room features examples of luxury commodities and mass-produced goods conceived for the modern "culture house." A pair of lacquered vases with leaping hares created in 1942, a cubist-like sake flask in the shape of an Akita dog from the 1930s, a decorative cabinet, carpets and an extraordinary bronze table clock with a rabbit punding rice-cake on the moon which reimages a medieval Japanese tale, bringing the show to a close with a perfect pairing of tradition and modernity.
The catalogue that accompanies "Deco Japan" is published by Art Services International . In addition to Dr. Brown, Machiko Takanami, Chief Curator, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Museum; Professor Vera Mackie, University of Melbourne; Hitomi Kitamura, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; and Professor Tim Benton, co-editor of the Victoria and Albert’s groundbreaking 2003 exhibition "Art Deco: 1910-1939."
Related programs will take place throughout the tenure of "Deco Japan: Shaping Art & Culture 1920-1945." Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second Avenues. For more information, phone (212) 832-1155 or visit www.japansociety.org.