My last appraisal was over FaceTime, for two hours with a gentleman and his two sisters, on the Peninsula. Their surviving parent had died and this was a preliminary estate consultation. With his phone in his hand, he walked me through the Asian Art property in his parents home. Over two hours, we discussed and inspected approximately 80 properties of antique Japanese art. All of the furniture was in good condition, old, 19th c with original ironwork and with wood nails used in the drawers. The quality of the Japanese furniture was an eight out of ten but I still wanted to be upfront that Japanese art no matter how wonderful, is not popular today, and thus brings low prices. There is little demand.
The next category that we discussed was the artwork hanging on the walls, the prints and ink drawings, with an occasional woodblock print. There were approximately two dozen, 20th century, museum quality well-known Japanese artists. I discussed selling through a print dealer, or at auction such as Bonhams in San Francisco. I spoke of the museums I knew that collected the artists and a possible donation. There was also a pair of museum quality, tall, wood, black lacquered shoes worn by a geisha in the early 1800’s with beautiful silk colorful embroidery. We spoke of donations of this property and where it might be welcomed. The names of print dealers were provided along with contacts at the museum and auction house.
The last category we discussed was the porcelain. There were several pieces of colored 19th c Imari. The quality was evident due to fineness of drawing, the skillful use of green, blue and red glazes, and the shapes of the bowls. There were three large 14 inch chargers and an assortment of fluted large bowls. There was an assortment of twenty porcelains, most used as display around the home. My client carried a tape measure and would use while talking with me.
It was a fun two-hour phone discussion with Thomas, walking rather quickly through the material. He seemed at ease holding the phone and directing the camera to the right area for closer examination. In another room, I could hear his sisters talking quietly to one another. When we entered one room, there was a large, six-panel gold screen with white chrysanthemums separated from a blue and white checkered curtained area, on the wall behind the sofa. I exclaimed ‘Oh My’ and could hear his sister’s laugh and say ‘yes we wondered what you would say about that.’ A daughter of the heirs wanted the screen but could not take possession right away. So we talked about how best to wrap and protect not only the screen but other objects in the house. I suggested using cotton sheets to place between the panels of the screen to protect the painting and then to wrap the screen with the cotton sheets. Cotton sheets, often unwanted and extra when cleaning out a home, are the perfect material for wrapping and protecting most property. Very convenient to have on hand, packing material, doing an already stressful job.