SPRING 2024 Editorial

Mr Keiji Ichikawa, Chairman of The Japantique Show, with his son, Takashi Ichikawa. Photo by Robin Markbreiter

DURING JAPAN’S Golden Week in May 2023, I made a trip to Tokyo and Kyoto where I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Toru Niwa, Director of the Suntory Museum of Art at Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi. The museum on average holds six special exhibitions annually, which are highly regarded by the approximately 300,000 visitors they attract each year. The museum’s collection, which includes one National Treasure, fifteen Important Cultural Properties and twenty-one Important Art Objects, now numbers approximately 3000 artworks. Mr Niwa explained that giving back to society has been an essential part of Suntory’s corporate philosophy since Shinjiro Torii founded the company in 1899. He said: “Our principle is ‘Art in Life’ and the museum seeks to be an ‘urban living room’, where visitors can encounter stimulating experiences at the exhibitions.” I would sincerely like to thank Director Niwa and author Tusha Buntin for their co-operation in producing this issue’s interesting cover article on the Suntory Museum of Art.

I was also delighted to meet Mr Keiji Ichikawa, Chairman of The Japantique Show. Founded in 1986, The Japantique Show is one of Japan’s leading art and antiques fairs, with approximately 200 local and overseas exhibitors. Held at the Tokyo Prince Hotel, the show offers a diverse range of antiques for sale, including glass, jewellery, porcelain, paintings, prints, pottery, silver, watches and contemporary art. Approximately 12,000 people visit this enjoyable event each year and I look forward to returning to The Japantique Show from May 1st to 5th, 2024.

Daniel Kelly at his paintings and prints exhibition in Kyoto, Japan. Photo by Robin Markbreiter

I also had the good fortune to meet Daniel Kelly, an intriguing American painter and printmaker based in Kyoto. Known for his celebration of Japanese techniques and tradition, Kelly often engages with classical Japanese imagery in his works, from countryside scenes and koi fish to ornate decorative objects. He utilises an unusually broad range of techniques, including lithography, cement block, woodblock and chine-collé printing for delicate papers. His works are held in renowned institutional and private collections worldwide, and I hope Arts of Asia readers will enjoy the article, “Kyoto/American Painter, Daniel Kelly: Depthless Perception”, written by Hollis Goodall for this issue.

On February 1st, 2024, Charles F. Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, announced that Sotheby’s will be making significant changes to its fee structure by reducing its buyer’s premium and setting the seller’s commission at a standard rate. Sotheby’s is abandoning its current three-tiered buyer’s premium structure and is switching to a simpler two-tiered format. The new rates will be 20% on the hammer price up to US$6 million, and 10% of the hammer price above US$6 million. Sotheby’s key changes for sellers includes the introduction of a uniform seller’s commission rate of 10% on the first US$500,000 of the hammer price per lot. There will be no seller’s commission on the portion of the hammer price above US$500,000. These new charges will come into effect in May 2024 and are a bold strategic move to gain market share. This means Sotheby’s commission rates will be significantly below the fees charged by its market rivals, so it will be fascinating to see how other major auction houses now respond.

Natalie, Stuart, Richard and Samuel Marchant at 120 Kensington Church Street, London

Marchant, the distinguished London gallery specialising in Chinese ceramics and works of art, also recently made a surprise announcement of their own. Coinciding with the company’s centenary in 2025, they will open a new gallery at 26 Brook Street in Mayfair. “We are incredibly excited to embark on this new chapter in Mayfair”, stated Stuart Marchant, CEO. “This prestigious location will allow us to showcase our carefully curated collections to an even wider audience and create a special experience for art lovers and collectors alike.” Comprising six floors on the corner of Haunch of Venison Yard, just five doors down from Bond Street and in close vicinity to the respective salerooms of Bonhams and Sotheby’s, the new gallery will be housed in a stunning Georgian style townhouse, which will be meticulously renovated and reimagined to provide a sophisticated and elegant environment for the gallery’s treasures. “Kensington Church Street has been our cherished home for over seventy years, and we will forever appreciate the memories forged within these walls”, said Richard Marchant, Life President. “This move is not merely a change of address; it is a bold declaration of our enduring commitment to excellence and a promise to present the finest Chinese art in a location that is both historically significant and at the forefront of contemporary culture.”

Asia Week New York, taking place from March 14th to 22nd, 2024, will include twenty-eight galleries and six auctions houses. I am pleased to see the return of Carlton Rochell Asian Art and The Loewentheil Photography of China Collection from New York, as well as Francesca Galloway from London, and a newcomer in Alisan Fine Arts from Hong Kong. Together with the other participating galleries and auction houses, they will present the rarest and finest examples of bronze, ceramics, paintings, prints, sculpture and textiles from across Asia, dating from the 2nd millennium BC to the present.

Hakuin Ekaku (1685–1768), One Hundred “Kotobuki” (Longevity), 1767, hanging scroll, ink on paper, image 123 x 54 cm. The Gitter-Yelen Collection, MFAH, gift of Dr Kurt Gitter and Alice Yelen Gitter, 2021.205
Cloisonné enamel vase by Namikawa Yasuyuki of Kyoto (1845−1927), circa 1908 (Meiji period), height 14 cm. Orientations Gallery

Japan Society Gallery in New York is pleased to present “None Whatsoever: Zen Paintings from the Gitter-Yelen Collection”, on view from March 8th to June 16th, 2024. Spanning over 400 years, the exhibition examines the origins of Zen Buddhism through the contributions of Buddhist painter-monks, whose ink paintings and calligraphies have helped to define this fascinating religious and artistic tradition. The exhibition is jointly organised by Tiffany Lambert (Curator and Interim Director at Japan Society Gallery), Bradley Bailey (The Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Curator of Asian Art at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) and Yukio Lippit (The Jeffrey T. Chambers and Andrea Okamura Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University). Bradley Bailey also wrote the interesting article, “None Whatsoever: Zen Paintings from the Gitter-Yelen Collection”, in the Arts of Asia Autumn 2023 issue, pp. 94−105.

Orientations Gallery and Oriental Treasure Box are returning to the elegant Nippon Gallery located on the 7th floor of The Nippon Club Tower in New York. This year’s event, entitled “The Meiji Aesthetic: Influence from Edo to Now”, features high quality objects by accomplished and recognised artists in the fields of cloisonné enamels, metalwork, ceramics, art lacquer, painting, basketry, carving and textiles. An illustrative lecture by Hollis Goodall, Curator Emerita of Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, will accompany the exhibition on Monday, March 18th at 3 pm.

Gold lacquer box depicting the gifts of good luck and happiness, signed Rodou, Meiji period, 14 x 9 x 4.5 cm. Oriental Treasure Box

Many artworks in the show will complement the striking pieces now seen in the trailblazing touring museum exhibition, “Meiji Modern; Fifty Years of New Japan”, which takes a fresh look at the art of Japan’s Meiji era (1868−1912), through a vivid selection of objects drawn from early public and private collections across the United States. “Meiji Modern” is organised by the Japanese Art Society of America in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Curated by Chelsea Foxwell (Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago) and Bradley Bailey, the exhibition at the Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, will be held from March 21st to June 9th, 2024. For more information about this landmark exhibition, please see the article, “Meiji Modern: Globalisation and Experimentation in Modern Japanese Art” by Minori Egashira, in our Autumn 2023 issue, pp. 71−83.

Finally, I would like to wish all Arts of Asia readers and friends a very happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Dragon—a symbol of strength, vitality and ambition. I hope you will continue to enjoy our magazine, which was founded in 1970 by my parents, Tuyet Nguyet and Stephen Markbreiter. They always encouraged art lovers and collectors to visit museum and gallery exhibitions, as well as to read books, catalogues and magazines to further their knowledge. I will continue to strive to meet their high standards and am pleased that we have some outstanding issues lined up for this year. Kindly let me have any feedback to the topics covered either by email or in person. I look forward to meeting our readers at this year’s Asian art events around the world, including in my hometown of Hong Kong.


This special event unites leading Asian art dealers, major auction houses and societies in a series of gallery selling exhibitions, auctions, receptions, lectures and seminars. These are complemented by exhibitions at leading museums.

Chinese famille-verte porcelain piggyback boys, Kangxi period, height 23.5 cm. Ralph M. Chait Galleries, Inc.
Longquan celadon “Gu” form vase, Ming dynasty, height 25 cm. Zetterquist Galleries

Katsushika Hokusai (1760−1849), Telescope (Tōmegane), circa 1801−1804, colour woodblock print with mica, 36.8 x 25.4 cm. Sebastian Izzard LLC Asian Art
Lui Shou-Kwan (1919–1975), Zen Painting 1970, 1970, Chinese ink and colour on paper, 151.5 x 82.5 cm. Alisan Fine Arts

Cizhou-ware ceramic pillow with double-phoenix decoration, Northern Song period, 45 x 33 x 28 cm. Kaikodo

Kahata Tosen (1897–1985), Collie and Myna Bird (In a Peaceful Garden, The First Signs of Autumn), 1926, two-panel folding screen, ink, mineral colours and gofun (calcified powdered shell) on silk, 195.5 x 206.5 cm. Thomsen Gallery

Lai Fong (1839–1890), Portrait of Women from Xiamen, circa 1870s, albumen silver print. The Loewentheil Photography of China Collection

Kaparamip robe, Ainu People, Hokkaido, Japan, cotton, appliqué, embroidery, late 19th/early 20th century, 129.5 x 117 cm. Thomas Murray
Krishna Dancing on Naga Kaliya, South India, late 18th century, gouache on paper, 26.1 x 17.5 cm. Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch Ltd

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