Welcome to Cynthia Shaver Asian Art Appraiser Newsletter February 2021,
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Our world is still experiencing a deadly pandemic. Tomorrow I receive my first vaccine shot, hope you already got your vaccine. We need everyone to help with keeping our neighbors safe. My world is small; I don’t go out often, can’t drive and with Covid 19, don’t ride in other cars, in manual wheelchair with limited energy for rolling myself down the sidewalks. I want my good friends to be well so I can ride in their car again. Wear a mask please.
Last month I was busy with virtual consultations and appraisals. Serving to help families triage the recently inherited Asian Art into groups of origin, material and value, can then make decisions easier. After four decades of looking at, reading about, and discussing Asian Art, I have an overview of the property that is of benefit. And I have a lot of fun talking with daughters and mothers, siblings and kind neighbors. My job involves a bit of detective work, and how convenient to talk with owners face to face. The more I see, the more I know. I always see something new to me; need to research a new subject.
Most recently, just days ago, a Chinese folding fan, Qing period, was my topic. I learned the most valuable examples have mother-of-pearl spines, the next lacquered bamboo and last, carved bamboo spines. It reminded me of researching early1900’s Japanese circular fans with propaganda messages. The research revealed the most telling value characteristic was how many bamboo spines in the fan, regardless of message painted or printed. As an appraiser, one of the challenging jobs is to identify the different value characteristics. Then, naturally finding a comparable is another challenge.
On our American Society of Appraisers internal email exchange, we reach out for directions to follow and any experienced advice. I often say, the strength of an appraiser is their network they have built. I know many experts in different areas of art. When I moved to San Francisco in 1975, I lived close to The Legion of Art. It was the first museum with which I became emotionally acquainted, attending the Sunday organ concerts and visiting the Rodin sculptures. I was a thirsty sponge and soaked in art weekly at a minimum. I visited the Asian Art Museum too, joined the Society For Asian Art and attended lectures to learn more. Within a few years, in 1980’s I started going to the deYoung Museum. Although this museum was the last in the Bay Area to enter my life, it became the most visited.
Please continue to correspond with me, I enjoy your input. Where are you looking at art?
Best regard, Cynthia