April Newsletter

Dear Friends 

Welcome to our April newsletter.
March literally sprung into life with the much anticipated New York series of Asian Art sales and exhibitions, I have very fond memories of attending Asian art week in the USA coinciding with the St Patrick day parade in Madison avenue, as it usually does, ill share that story another time, on this occasion whilst watching in from afar I witnessed a Japanese woodcut print sell for an eye watering $2,760,000, albeit a version of the iconic wave by Hokusai. As the most ardent Japanese art lover even I find it hard to legislate how a print can command such eye watering sums, I love woodcuts, particularly snow scenes and animal subjects , however I cannot even begin to understand them at that price level, I’ll leave that to the academics that do and continue to focus on my area of expertise.

Meanwhile back in the world of SSJA there was no better way to start March than with a ping on my phone that alerted me to the overnight online payment and subsequent sale of the beautiful Bijin okimono that I featured in last month’s newsletter, I had only scheduled it to go live at 01.30 and by 07.00 she was destined to join an extensive USA based ceramic collection, sincere thanks to that longstanding friend and client.

Another USA client returned early in the month to secure the charming mixed metal plaque that I had described on my listing as in the manner of Suzuki Chokichi, although on this occasion an artist known as Muramata Yoshitoshi was responsible for the manufacture, the Tokyo based artist had inscribed the rear with what I presumed was his calling card of the day, alongside his signature the text translated as “made by an old man who lived near the Edogawa river, Tokyo”, a fascinating piece of historic information that demonstrated to me the artists ingenuity in looking for further commissions for his extraordinary metalworking skills.

In mid-March I listed a large scale mixed metal vase by the highly regarded and well recorded artist Miyabe Atsuyoshi, the vase had arrived from an Australian source and was sold within hours of the listing going live, it is now heading to the far East to a returning client and fellow Japanese art enthusiast and dealer.

Thank you to the above clients for their valued purchases and to the hundreds that follow my newsletters and the thousands that follow my social media postings.

It is probably worth noting that whilst I personally write my monthly newsletter ramblings, my social media postings are scripted and delivered by a fantastic team of girls at The Antique Marketing Company, whose help over the years has proved invaluable, however due to the high volume neither I or the girls are able to regularly respond to social media posts, and as such it is always advisable to e-mail any enquiries for my immediate attention to steve@steveslyjapaneseart.com

In other news this pop up captured my attention in March, amongst the seemingly endless stream of negative or non-news story’s coming out from the gutter press on a daily basis was this heart-warming video of a man in India who had saved a crane from certain death, fixed its broken leg and nursed it back to full health. What this individual possibly did not realise whilst carrying out this valiant deed was that in Asia in particular cranes are seen a symbol of longevity, as they mate for life, it seems as if this bird has found his new soul mate for life, what a lovely story. 

Watch the Video on BBC

Obviously as charming as it may appear we cannot all adopt a crane, as such this magical story inspired me to promote my fine quality pure silver and shakudo okimono of a pair of Manchurian cranes, just to see if I can find them a home for life, what stronger message could you send to a loved one as a symbol of longevity in your relationship. The okimono group is in the style and quality of metalworkers specialising in bird subjects such as Hidenao or Hasegawa Issei, and is formed from pure silver not silvered bronze as is often the case: please do take a look.

Once again we have had a very encouraging month on the buying front with market fresh pieces arriving from as close to home as the channel islands and as far afield as the USA, Australia and Japan, the majority of which will be photographed and offered on my online gallery in the coming weeks. With one or two exceptional scale pieces destined for editorial during Asian Art period to coincide with listing in my online gallery, as always please do keep an eye out for the latest arrivals.

As this month featured items, I have chosen two pieces of Satsuma from the latter part of the 19th century from the same family collection. Both painted by different artists but very much in a similar style, the group of artists painting at this time used a heavy gilt and polychrome jewel like technique often with distinct geometric borders, work from such artists as Hankinzan, Seikozan and indeed Genzan and Meizan as in these two examples, are instantly recognisable as being from that period.

It may be April fool’s day, but this is no joke, don’t miss these beautiful ceramics, in particular that spectacular 1,000 butterfly bowl that now represents superb value when compared to its previous auction price some 15 years ago.

Best wishes