Notes From An Appraiser August 2018

July was busy. I started the month examining ethnographic property from Egypt, Syria and Libya for a charitable contribution appraisal to a university museum. With the political and social change happening around the world, it is material like this that will no longer be seen. I also saw an amazing six sided chair from Syria with inlay ebony and ivory, donated to the International Museum of Folk Art in Santa Fe.

I examined six great Korean paintings, about 200 years old, that had been cut from a six panel, six foot screen at some point. The owner had inherited them from grandparents and came to see me to learn more. The figures painted were wearing obvious Korean shoes. After research I determined the figures were the seven lucky gods often associated with Chinese art. It was fun to see Korean paintings, not a common example of personal property that i frequently see.

I assessed a lovely black ink painting, with a slight touch of pink, of Mt Fuji, a gift from father to daughter, by a well known artist selling today in the low five figure range The husband had done quite a bit of research before coming for the office appointment and discovered the artist, when and where he lived and with whom he studied, I spent the hour discussing the significance of Mt Fuji to the Japanese, showing the website of a dealer in NYC that sold this artist, and a print out of the auction sales of the artist’s works over the last five years.

I inspected a few more Chinese paintings this month, a landscape and one of three standing officials, along with Chinese porcelains. I also looked at twenty small Chinese jade properties that were once part of an inventory for a jewelry store – think pendants, rings, small figurines. These properties were part of daughter’s “to do” list a decade after her father died.

I’m working on an estate appraisal of Japanese Meiji Fine Art textiles that belonged to the noted antique dealer Nomura Shojiro at the turn of the 20th century, and were recently discovered in the kura of family estate. The largest textile is a wool tapestry (tsutsuri ori) with Western figures, bordered and backed with beautiful blue satin silk, dating to turn of the 20th century. The theme was an obvious attempt to woe Western clients and to demonstrate equal ability to the French and Italian tapestries of the late 1800’s seen at World Fairs in Paris, London and St. Louis. Nomura’s clientele was international, so if a dealer was to produce a commissioned wool tzutsure tapestry with Western figures in 1910-1920, it likely would have been Nomura Shojiro,

So July traditionally has been slow. This year July was delightfully busy and i frequently talked all about art. Thank you, it makes me happy.