LECTURE: Jeannie Kenmotsu, Ph.D. – September 5, 2019


Good evening. Thank you all for navigating
your way here. This evening. We had some rather extraordinary circumstances. And I mean, it’s
bad enough in regular times, given the sort of snaking nature of our hallways, but we
appreciate your finding your way here. I also want to thank the sponsors of tonight’s event,
the Asian art Council for whom this is the fall. Welcome back program, and the Department
for learning and community partnerships with represented by Stephanie Parrish. She was here
tonight. Welcome, I am Maribeth Graybill, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer, Curator of
Asian art. And it’s my very great pleasure to introduce our speaker this evening, Dr.
Jeannie Kenmotsu who is our Japan foundation assistant curator for Japanese art. She has
now been with the museum for just over two years, and she’s completely integrated herself
into I was gonna say wormed her way in, but they’re not equipped me. Yeah, completely
integrated herself into our complicated matrix of people and programs and places as an indispensable
member of our team. Her primary responsibility here, as determined by the grant, which we
received from the Japan foundation for Museum, infrastructure, staff expansion, you have
to write that all out every time museum infrastructure staff expansion, is to oversee our growing
collection of now nearly 3000, Japanese prints and printed books. That means that she recommends
new acquisitions, whether they be purchases from dealers, or cultivating collectors for
donations. She also for each print, researches, the artists, the subject materials. And I
was just saying to someone the other day that given that many prints have a great deal of
writing on them. And given that standards for cataloging have changed a great deal.
Since the old days where you put a known if you couldn’t read it. We had a lot like that
in our database. It can take many days to get the information correct for a single print.
So that’s real slog of a job and you have to come to it with great love and attention.
And she does. So she researches all of that. And then she also curates special exhibitions.
In now the West most room of the Japanese galleries, which we refurbish to specifically
display prints, and her dramatic impressions. exhibition of actor prints from our collection,
Kabuki after prints will remain on to you through October 13. She has also put in a
countless hours working closely with our in house photographer, Ben CT, to visually document
the print collection and get it online. The museum received a grant from the Institute
for Museum and Library studies, that’s your tax dollars going to very good purpose in
Washington DC, that paid for one of the most advanced camera systems that’s available now.
And was specifically it was bought for this print project because if you look at certain
kinds of Japanese prints, they might have embossing or sometimes called blind printing.
And you have to in order to if you take a normal flash photograph that all gets washed
out. Similarly, many Japanese prints, especially privately printed ones make use of mint metallic
pigments. And if I photograph it, I just get a big area of white reflected. Or sometimes gold comes out green. In other
words, in other words, it’s very difficult to photograph Japanese prints to see what
you can see in person, especially if you’re going like this. You know, looking at the
print from all kinds of angles relative to the light. So what they’re doing is photographing
a print multiple times with raking light with different angles. And putting that now online.
And when Jeannie gave up, talk about this at the American Association of curators Asian
art, everybody in the room went Whoo, at the same time and said we don’t have anything
like that. So that’s another large portion of her work here. And then she then those
prints go online. And you can now find 1045 Japanese prints in the online collections
section of the museum’s website. So big thanks. So where did this native of Austin, Texas,
acquire all the skills for specialized training and Japanese art history took place, both
in Japan, where she was a visiting scholar at KL University, but also in Philadelphia,
where she earned both an MS and PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. Working with Portland,
native Julie Nelson Davis, who was a specialist in Japanese prints. Ginny wrote both her ms
thesis and PhD dissertation on some of the earliest color woodblock print printed books.
And what’s so interesting about that is, if you work in Japanese prints, you have all
engraved on your livers 1765 as the date of the first color prints, which is two for single
sheets, but would color printed color printed books were earlier and that’s her area of
extraordinary expertise. So on along the way, she’s become one of the foremost scholars
in the country on color. It’s used in 18th century Japan, and she is regularly sought
after as a speaker at international conferences. Tonight she will address one of her other
interests, which is collecting. Her topic is the lad collection, which came to the museum
in 1932. The year the loose key building opened in October of 1932, one of the two galleries
when you walk in from Park Avenue, one of the two galleries, I’m not sure if it was
right or left was filled with an exhibition from the lead collection ever since Japanese
prints has been a core part of the museum’s identity. And there are two people here tonight
who helped to keep it that way and sustain that. One is my predecessor, Donald Jenkins.
Donald, could you stand up and take some applause? Please? Where are you, Donald? I know you’re
here. There he is. And I think right beside him is Lynn Kasumoto.
Is that right there that I see Lynn is there she is right down here. Okay. Lynn Kasumoto? Who was Donald’s longtime research assistant
and work with me in the 2011 exhibition and publication on three centuries of prints from
the collection. So we have a lot of people who have contributed to make this happen.
And Jeannie is really very actively managing that now. So please join me in welcoming Dr.
g. Doctor, Dr. Jeannie Kenmotsu to the podium. You got a preview. But let me start by saying thank you very
much, Maribeth, that was a wonderful introduction and all of you. I’m quite honored that you’ve
made your way here on a Thursday evening, through through extraordinary circumstances, but you
got an art tour on the way which is good. I hope it whet your appetite. I have a lot
to tell you about today, so I think I will just jump right in. In October 1932 the Portland Art Museum Board
of Trustees accepted a gift of some 750 Japanese woodblock prints. This gift included nearly
all of the major print artists from the late 17th century through the mid 19th century.
From Hoke aside to hotter Nobu shout out to Shooting Show, it covered a wide sweep representative
of the developments in printing technology over the period. It also included many rare
designs and impressions in superb condition. And you see examples of these here with Hokus
I on the right hotter Nobu on the left and in the middle, a world class impression by
Tokyo Nobu. In a letter acknowledging the donation, the Secretary of the Board of Trustees
wrote that, quote, The fine collection of Japanese prints of great Rarity and value
was originally assembled over many years by the unerring taste and accurate judgment and
knowledge of Mrs. William need lad, or Mary Andrews lad. Up until 1932, the Portland Art
Museum had just over 3000 accession objects in the permanent collection. So in terms of
size, scope, and quality, this was an extraordinary and unprecedented gift to the museum. And
yet, the museum’s registration files and archives contain no documents recording the provenance
of the collection, or even a general history of its formation by Mary Andrews lad and her
husband, William need lad. That is where when and from home today acquire their Japanese
prints. I cannot promise to answer all of these questions tonight, but I can offer some
evidence and suppositions and I can tell you the story of my own fascination with this
collection. I became interested in the origins of the lad collection for a very, very basic
set of reasons. First, the donation is so large and so early. Second, the quality of
the prints is extremely high. And third, but not least, because it is a woman’s name and
the credit line. The first two characteristics are unusual for West Coast museums. Most large
donations and request of Japanese prints came into public collections in Los Angeles, San
Francisco and Seattle at a later date. In addition, as private collectors lads showed
a preference for the early impressions and find condition favored by an educated connoisseur.
This was not uniformly the case for the reception of Japanese prints in America at the time.
There was a third basic feature of the collection that intrigues me the name Mary Andrews lad.
Now this stands out among museums nationally. All of the most famous Japanese print collections
formed in private hands, and then given to public institutions in the early decades of
the 20th century are named for mail collectors. At the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, William
Sturgess, Bigelow is remembered for his enormous gift of prints in 1911. Along with significant
gifts from the brothers, William and Jon Spalding and others. The Howard Mansfield collection
was a partial gift partial purchase by the Metropolitan Museum in 1936. The Art Institute
of Chicago’s Buckingham collection was formed by the siblings Kate and Clarence Buckingham,
after Clarence his death in 1913, Kate deposited the Japanese print collection at the museum
is alone. And in 1925, she donated them along with new acquisition she had made but all
under her brother’s name. So despite the fact that Kate was also a collector, it is Clarence
his name that commemorates the collection. In contrast, to have Mary Andrews lads name
at the forefront of a foundational gift of superlative Japanese prints in 1932, was at
least unusual and it may perhaps have been totally unprecedented. And indeed, the Portland story is far west,
far less well known than its eastern counterparts. It took place and what might be called frontier
city in the Pacific Northwest, featuring the family of local and regional importance, but
not national stature. The writing that’s been done in this collection is relatively sparse,
but it spans nearly a century from early newspaper articles in the 1900s and 1910s. Up to exhibition
catalog essays published in 2006, and 2011. Within this literature, there are conflicting
stories about the origins of the collection, the lead sources, whether it was Mary or William,
who drove the acquisitions or whether it was a joint venture, and even how the collection
came into the museum. So part of the story that I will tell you today is about my own
venture into history and archives, the ephemera and to sit Hurghada of institutional collections,
and a reconsideration of this evidence. To start I’ll give you some background and introduction
to Japanese prints and the early history of collecting them in the united states states.
But my main focus will be a search into the motivations for Japanese print collection
in Portland, far from the hubs of activity in cities like Boston and New York and Chicago.
Who were the lads and why was this couple interested in Japanese prints at the turn
of the 20th century? What distinguishes this collection? And how does it compare with other
collections of being assembled at the same time in other parts of the United States? Japanese prints of the echo or Tokugawa period
that is 1603 to 1868. We’re part of the genre known as okie OA for pictures of the floating
world to residents of the city of echo, now called Tokyo, the Tokyo or floating world
conjured up the world of ephemeral pleasures, particularly describing the brothel and kabuki
theater districts. These were cultural spheres wit, sophistication, playfulness, debauchery,
and sometimes even transgression. As visitors to the pleasure quarters could step outside
their everyday lives. As merchants or yours or craftsmen. It was a way to temporarily
pretend that you were beyond the bounds of a highly regulated confusion, social order.
These same pleasures were available vicariously through the medium of print. The armchair
traveler could consume imagery and light fiction without ever setting foot physically in the
pleasure quarters. The main subjects of okie OA in the late 17th and early 18th century
were prostitutes of the licensed district and actors of the kabuki theater in the 19th
century with the expansion of travel landscape and pictures of famous places became popular
souvenirs and collectibles. Now, okay, as a Jon of art appeared primarily in three main
media, sheet prints, paintings and illustrated books. Artists frequently worked in multiple
media, and they might specialize over time as painters or as designers of particular
subjects like actor prints. For example, the current show which unfortunately can’t see
this evening, but you can come back anytime. Certainly features artists who specialized
in the actor print genre alone. Here I give you examples of work in all three media by
cuts college student show, a late 18th century artist and hope Assize teacher. But it was
sheet prints that were produced in the greatest numbers, and which are most closely associated
today with the term. The majority of these prints were commercially produced. That is,
they were made for sale. In a typical project the artist as she would produce the design,
usually at the direction of a professional publisher. The Carver, a craftsman who would
have specialized skill and training would produce a key block, along with separately
carved blocks for each color. He would then turn over the blocks to a printer providing
who was also a specialist craftsman. The publisher was typically the director of each project,
providing the financing, marketing and the sales, and he held authority over the final
product. These commercially published OQA prints were affordable, visually engaging,
and they featured attractive celebrities of the day. However, an oft repeated Maxim about
Japanese prints that they were universally cheap, is inaccurate. Please tell all your
friends. Like any art form and any consumer product, okie OA was produced at a wide range
of price points. For instance, privately published prints and illustrated books are thought to
have been quite expensive. They use Deluxe materials like gold, silver, mica and thick
paper and featured special printing effects like blind embossing. Still, Europeans and
Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries found prints appealing for many of the same
reasons that Japanese audiences did, because they were skillfully designed and produced
and us visually attractive. Compared to other Japanese pictorial genres, who QA prints were
more affordable and relative to paintings, sculpture and other media printed things were
exceedingly transportable, easy to store and available in large quantities. The reception of Japanese prints abroad is
typically understood through two vectors. On the one hand, scholars of Japanese men
have long acknowledged that Japanese prints attracted international attention in the West
because of their so called exotic appeal. Artists like James McNeil Whistler and Van
Gogh, found in Tokyo a novel solutions to color light and line. The American painter
john Lafarge was a collector, as were artists of the arts and crafts movement, like Arthur
Wesley Tao and Frank Lloyd Wright was both a collector and later a dealer of Japanese
prints, funneling large numbers of prints to major American collectors. Here on the
right, I show you a page from Dow’s influential design manual, titled composition. Down not
only used Japanese prints to illustrate his principles, he adapted Japanese terms and
concepts to us to describe essential structural elements in design. The same was true in Paris
on revere the French jeweler, Louis comfort Tiffany and many others went to the great
dealers Hayashi, Tata, masa, and secret being for inspiration. But jumping taste and the
search for artistic inspiration is only part of the story. The other significant measure
for understanding the widespread almost feverish, Lee enthusiastic reception of Japanese prints
abroad during this era is this familiar kind of triumphal narrative, that of the great
individual collector. What we know about early collecting has been mostly defined by the
stories of major collections on the East Coast, and to some extent in the Midwest. I’ve mentioned
already several collectors whose donations to major museums formed early public Japanese
print collections of great prestige, Bigelow’s gift. The earliest of these was also by far
the largest at 34,000 printed sheets. It’s today about 60% of the Boston MFA is print
collection, which is likely the largest in the world. At the other end of the spectrum,
Howard Mansfield limited his collection to only about 300 prints, but of exceptional
quality as he continually was trading out for better impressions. So you see totally
different collecting philosophies happening at the same time. Many of the early collectors
sold their collections during their lifetime, Charles Lang freer acquired more than 300
prints over the course of 10 or 15 years, selling them in 1905, to concentrate on Japanese
and Chinese painting. Each of these fascinating stories is shaped by the attitudes, preferences
and idiosyncrasies of each collector, and I refer you to the excellent work of Julian
Meech, on this subject. But one of the commonalities among these major early collectors was key
relationship with an expert advisor. Nearly all of the major American collectors of Japanese
prints looks to the expertise and mentorship of a special lyst in Chicago, for instance,
the bucking hams relied on Frederick gugen later the curator of the Buckingham collection
at the Art Institute. The most well studied today and perhaps most active of these early
advisors was Ernest fennel Llosa, who closely advised a long list of clients including Bigelow,
the Spalding and freer fellow so was the first curator of Asian art at the MFA. And although
his in his early career, he dismissed and disparaged Tokyo a as a lesser form among
the Japanese arts. Ironically, it may have been the passion for Japanese prints among
American collectors that kept fellow so financially and professionally afloat. After leaving the
museum. fennel Llosa himself acquired a significant new QA print collection, which is something
that’s not often discussed, and was recognized as the major authority by a generation of
collectors, his activities and gentlemen, these prints included organizing public exhibitions
in New York City, advising OQA collectors and above all, publishing several books on
OQA. Some of these are the most serious historical outlines of Japanese prints written in English
to that date. I think there’s an argument to be made that it was actually fellow says
publications that had the bigger impact on early American collecting of Japanese prints
far more transformative across time and geography. Then, his personal close contact with individual
collectors. The copy of masters of okie OA you see here,
for instance, once belonged to Mary Andrews lad, there’s a possibility that the lads met
phenol Llosa at some point, perhaps seeking advice or even to make a purchase. But there
is no evidence that they enjoyed the kind of close personal attention that fellows that
gave two men like Charles Lang for founded in 1892. The Portland Art Museum,
as many of you know, is the oldest Art Museum on the west coast, and the seventh oldest
in the United States. Given the relative youth and size of the City of Portland in the late
19th century, that its civic benefactors valued the establishment of a public institution
devoted to art speaks certainly to Yes, a personal philanthropic bent but also to a
wish to see their city become more sophisticated and cultured on the model of older East Coast
establishment. This was a pattern that was common to West Coast cities at the time. The
lad family was a major contributor to these developments in Portland. William Sergeant
lad William meets father is considered one of the city’s founding fathers. He grew up
in New England and moved to Oregon as young men in 1851, eight years before Oregon became
the 33rd state. William senior served on the Portland City Council in the 1850s and did
two stints as the city’s mayor. His business ventures grew very quickly expanding from
a liquor business to a more general mercantile and wholesale company. And by 1859, he had
co founded the lad and Tilton bank. This was the first bank in the Pacific Northwest wildly
successful and its first several decades of operation and the source of much of the family’s
wealth. William mead lad his eldest son, would eventually take over the father’s various
business adventure ventures, along with his philanthropic activities. In 1885, he married
Mary Lyman Andrews, marriage his upbringing had been quite different from her husband’s
born in Missouri. She was raised in Minnesota, and later Oakland by her mother and aunt,
both widows by that time in Oakland, her mother taught music and her aunt ran a boarding house
for Berkeley students. When Mary was 15, she moved to Portland with her mother, who had
been hired as governess to the young children of steamboat Captain john C. Ainsworth and
his wife. After attending high school in Portland, Mary briefly studied and taught music and
Oakland. Among her students was Williams younger sister, Helen, but it was probably Mary’s
close association with the prominent Ainsworth that would have given her significant contact
with Portland society families. The lads were involved with the art museum from its very
beginnings. Will you meet was one of seven signers for the Portland Art Association letters
of incorporation in 1892. And on the board of trustees from inception, Intel, he stepped
down as president in 1926. The larger lab family, along with other high profile Portland
families, to which the lads also had close ties that just the Corbett’s and failings,
financially supported the fledgling institution through its first several decades. In addition
to lending their personal art collections for public display. William and Mary loaned
a variety of artworks to the museum’s exhibitions, particularly prints, and eventually Mary and
her children gave many works to the permanent collection that suggests the breadth of the
family’s taste, including oil paintings by Eloqua and Albert Pinkham writer Barbizon
school paintings textiles, Chinese and Japanese ceramics, lacquer and decorative art objects.
However, it is Mary and Williams extraordinary collection Western prints that begins to offer
clues about why they might have become interested in Japanese prints. The young couples first
purchase was an etching by Francis Seymour Hayden in 1885. The year that they married,
they were sold this print by New York dealer Frederick capital, one of the most important
figures in the print trade in the early 19th century in the late 19th century, and the
first American fine art dealer to specialized exclusively in the graphic arts. Over the
next 20 years, the lads assembled one of the greatest American collections of Western printmaking
in existence in the United States at that time, eventually numbering well over 5000
impressions. The lad collection was especially noted for
its strength in the 19th century etching revival with nearly 150 Whistler’s when if what you
see on the left, William and Mary’s preference for the etchings of Whistler and his circle
was in step with cultural attitudes of the time, recognizing individual prints as unique
works of art. Many of you will remember my colleague Mary cheapens recent show of Whistler
and his circle, and how the artists of the etching revival would constantly rework their
plates, creating variations between impressions. This was the kind of practice that cultivated
and appreciation for the artists hand and encourage connoisseurship of the printmaking
process itself. At the same time, the lab collection also demonstrated considerable
range within the history of Western printmaking. It included 15th century Martin Sean Gower
and Andrea Montagnier 120 Albert door prints. Contemporary modernists like Vasili content
ski and Kathy Kovats, more than 317th and 18th century French portrait engravings 150
English Meza English Middleton’s 150 Rembrandt prints and even some JMW Turner’s the scholar
Lisa Dixon Michelle, who has studied the lad collection and detail has shown that their
European prints were strong and categories that are less popular today, but would have
been more expensive even than old masters at the time, such as those English presidents.
The point also being that William and Mary were buying prints that were at the top of
the market, this wasn’t just like the dregs of what was available. However, on October
18 1916, it was announced that the entire collection of 5608 prints seven drawings,
and a reference library of some 150 books had been sold to the Minnesota newspaper publisher
Herschel v. Jones. Jones almost immediately donated the vast majority of the prints to
the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where they now form the nucleus of the print collection
there. Much to all of our regret. A few days later, and nearly full page article
in the Sunday Oregonian registers a kind of sense of shock that the collection would be
leaving. It was as if the local community had woken up to the idea that they had significant
even world class art and cultural artifacts in town, realized a little too late. We don’t
have any statements by William or Mary about the collection sale, but others have speculated
on the reasons. The most possible of these were financial woes that burdened the lad
and Tilton bank following the financial Panic of 1907. In an effort to assuage investors,
William Meade lad had personally guaranteed deposits with his own money, effectively tethering
his family fortune to the fate of the bank. Despite the fact that as I understand it,
he was not legally obligated to do so it was more of a moral and PR imperative. Although
more more money could have been made by splitting up the print collection, William sold it in
its entirety to Jones for the sum of $225,000. I did a quick calculation of what that might
be in 20 $19 and came up with 5.3 million. And that’s just what it was worth in 1932.
William and Mary lads collection of Western prints offers one point of context for the
Japanese print collection that eventually came to the Portland Art Museum. Yet there
was also a larger cultural interest in Japanese prints at the time, hundreds of thousands
of OQA prints were exported from Japan during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Portland
certainly was not the first port of call even on the west coast, but there is no evidence
to suggest that there was popular knowledge of the medium. This is a little bit of a rough
and ready kind of statistic that I did a search for the phrase Japanese prints, and a handful
of digitized pre war Oregon newspapers. The results suggest something about the rather
dramatic rise and fall of the medium as a newsworthy item. And you can see that in the
second half of the 19th century, there’s basically nothing and then in the first decade, suddenly
we have almost 50 articles, and then this almost doubles in the following decade. It
may be too far to say that there was a craze, but at the very least these figures give credence
to this idea that Japanese prints were entering the lexicon of wider American culture. Although
I think that the lads represent a case of individual private collectors serious in their
pursuit of fine art and connoisseurship. It is worth noting that the reception of Japanese
art and particularly prints in America might be understood through other vectors of mass
consumption. Christine Guth has argued that in the United States, buki OA was also attractive
because of its discursive value. In other words, that in the national context for their
acquisition, was this idea that Japanese prints represented a democratic art form. As she
argues It was not the exoticism or the unfamiliarity of Japanese woodblock prints that was appealing
for a mass American public. Like it was for artists like Arthur Wesley, Tao, or john the
forest, or even Vincent van Gogh, but rather the familiar qualities that they were perceived
to share with other forms of reproduction. In the late 19th century, plaster casts, electro
types, Chroma lithography, and other reprint reductive media, new media were an increasingly
widespread use. And in part what they did was to transmit art and culture to the masses.
Think about the internet. In fact, the first objects in the Portland Art Museum permanent
collection were plaster casts of Greek and Roman sculptures, and you can see them today
in the market building. Japanese prints then occupied an interesting conceptual space for
Americans, like engravings, Meza tents, wood cuts, and other forms of Western fine printmaking,
they could be appreciated as original multiples. That is, they were original fine art objects,
but paradoxically, always intended to exist in more than one copy. But they differed to
from these print technologies because unlike Western prints, there were no mechanical processes
involved. There’s no printing press in the making of Japanese prints. This gift Japanese
prints especial cachet, as they seemed more intimately bound up with the quality of the
artists hand. And all of this contributed to the popularity of Japanese prints abroad. Some scholars have even argued that Japanese
prints had fully entered everyday American culture by the early 1900s. With Hulk aside,
for instance, virtually a household name. I don’t know that that was true. But of course,
Japanese prints could be consumed in all kinds of ways by this enthusiastic audience. In
fact, they might be perceived in the turn of the century American home as fine art,
decoration, or perhaps occupy both categories once an article from 1896 in the daily historian
is titled, for Japanese interior cool luxuries of the Orient obtained at a slight outlay.
The article offers tips and advice on decorating, stating that a Japanese interior will always
be in favor with persons of moderate means, because so good in effect may be obtained
at so slight a cost. The idea that things Japanese were available inexpensively, while
simultaneously offering the consumer something in the register of good taste, or even culture
in a way that’s unrestricted by class boundaries is, I think, also part of the background for
early American reception of Japanese prints. And I focus on local newspapers published
in Oregon, in part to demonstrate that this this appreciation of Japanese prints was not
a New York phenomenon or a Boston or Chicago phenomenon, but it was national, certainly
reaching at least the left coast. The lads exceptional European and American print collection
indicates that they were dinosaurs who viewed prints as a genuine branch of fine art. Therefore,
I do not think that they viewed Japanese prints as a particularly democratic or middle class
art form. by at least 1905. They were lending their Japanese prints to the Portland Art
Museum for public exhibition. There remains uncertainty about when they begin purchasing
Japanese prints, but it appears to roughly coincide with the increasing interest in the
medium at the turn of the century. Alongside the questions of when and why Japanese prints
attracted the lads is the question of how they obtained them. Researchers before me
have speculated about their sources but no evidence has yet been published to confirm
any of these assertions. We know that the lads continued to work with New York dealer
Frederick capital in assembling their Western print collection and through him his brother
in law. William K. Vickery with the support of Keppel Vickery had established a gallery
in San Francisco in 1878, where he eventually brought in as partners, his nephew, Henry
Atkins, and a young man named Frederick Tory. We know that Vickery himself traveled to Portland,
I’ve found letters that affirm this fact, and that he also sold prints to Henry failing
a close associate of the lads. museum archives and period newspapers also indicate that Tori
was a frequent visitor, traveling to lecture at the Art Association and to sell prints
you can see here mentioned here of Tory in the Sunday Oregonian. Recently, I stumbled upon a new piece of evidence. This is a letter written by Henry Atkins Tutori,
who was in Berlin at the time. The letter is actually a fascinating account of the 1906
San Francisco earthquake written on six pages front and back. At kins delivers a dramatic
and frankly rather emotional retelling of events. He talks about being shaken out of
bed in Oakland, seeing buildings and whole city blocks go up in flames. At midnight,
he writes about being he says, forced out of a district of band at point practically
This letter is quite moving. And if you’re interested in the earthquake, I encourage
you to read it. My particular interest in the letter for the lads appears on the back
of page five, where he writes about their current finances and business prospects. Quote,
no one will want Jade’s or Japanese prints here for a long time, and I think we should
ship them to Portland and open their unquote. Atkins is also sure to tell Tory that among
the wagon load of stock he took from their gallery out of the city was a parcel of Japanese
prints. Other sources corroborate that Vickery, Atkins and Tory were active in Portland. But
I would argue that the letter demonstrates both the vital importance that the Portland
market held for them, and the significance of the Japanese print trade to their business.
Another conjectured but unsubstantiated source for the lad Japanese print collection is Ernest
fellows. I spoke earlier a fellow says role as an art advisor to the major collectors
of the era, but it is actually as I said, not that well known that he amassed a significant
collection himself. The disbursement of his collection is somewhat disputed. Some of his
prints went to his first wife after their divorce, which may have been sold to Clarence
Buckingham of Chicago. His second wife sold about 600, Japanese prints to Buckingham after
fennel doses death for $34,000. But other prints with fennel, fennel is the provenance
appear at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. No correspondence receipts or documentation
have yet been found. That would truly substantiate whether or not the lads purchased prints from
fellow so or his estate. But to my knowledge, no one has yet published the copy of fellow
says masters of OQA in the Portland Art Museum library. This was Mary Andrews labs personal
copy. As with nearly all books she gave to the library, she signed her name in the upper
right corner of the flyleaf. This book is particularly interesting because she added
Boston June 1903, below her name. Although anecdotal her use of the book and presumably
the trip to Boston that it indexes is suggestive of a personal interaction and perhaps even
a buying trip, and at the very least, constitutes material evidence of her awareness of fellows
as an authority on Japanese prints. If you’ll note that annotated List of artists names
in pencil on the left with corresponding page numbers, this is not just an indiscriminate
accumulator, but a serious student of the subject. There may of course have been a variety
of venues for the acquisition of Japanese prints by a West Coast couple already savvy
in their taste for European prints with personal and professional ties to the Bay Area. It
seems reasonable that the lads may have known other clients of Vickery, Atkins and Tory.
It has also been suggested to me that some of the prints might have been acquired. Then
at the 1905, Lewis and Clark exposition in Portland. It is also possible that they would
even have attended other worlds fairs like St. Louis in 1904, Seattle in 1909, or even
the much earlier World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. With the Japanese exhibits
were especially lavish. A more likely connection, and one I don’t think anyone has yet explored
is the larger sphere of rare book and fine print collecting. William joined the earlier
club in New York City in 1892, a few months after his younger brother, this prestigious
private club for bibliophiles is better known for its events and accomplishments in the
world of the Western book, but a flurry of activities in the 1890s and early 1900s, centered
on Japanese prints. The club itself organized several exhibitions of Tokyo a prints during
this period, drawn from the collections of members, and Howard Mansfield even served
as president from 1900 tonight to four. Even based on the West Coast as a girl your
member in good standing, William would have received notice of the club’s activities.
And it may have been partially through this network that he and Mary would have met like
minded collectors, further developed their appreciation for Japanese prints, and perhaps
even located new prospects for acquisition. This raises an important issue of what it
means to be collecting Japanese prints on the West Coast at the turn of the century.
Going to geography as much as anything, the lads may have been just that one step further
out from the primary art market. Mary and William did not have the benefit of a close
personal advisor, who was also a specialist in Japanese art, they would have had to rely
on the circulation of excellent impressions in secondary markets. This strikes me as an
important point of fundamental difference between the lab collection and competing private
collections of the same era. Most of the major American auctions from the early years of
the century, into the peak of the market in the 1920s, before the Great Depression hit
took place in New York. The lads or their agents might have attended some of these auctions.
And by 1917, their eldest son was a teaching physician at Columbia. But so far, we have
no evidence whether they did or not. So I’ve given you a taste of the questions that still
surround the lad collection, both those that have been answered and those yet unresolved.
I want to turn now to give you a brief overview of the collection itself and say a few words
about why it is so significant. To begin with, the Mary Andrews lab collection is encyclopedic
in scope, with nearly all of the major artists and lineages represented. Here you see a sample
of the at some artists and the collection. There few lucky q&a, the most notable of which
is the artists to Kyoko Yasutoshi, sometimes considered the last Tokyo a master and the
collection is encyclopedic but it is not even. What I mean by that is that the richest pockets
of the collection are not necessarily the largest, and the largest areas of the collection
are not necessarily the best. For instance, there are 84 prints. But the 19th century
landscape master who took our hero Shige he was as beloved in 1919 as he is in 2019. But the Hiroshi good group is, it’s fine.
It’s just It’s okay. Elsewhere in the collection, we get a glimpse
of the lads real preferences, and three features particularly standout. First is an emphasis
on spectacular first rate, and early impressions are a number of examples I could give you
of this to demonstrate just what is outstanding in this collection. But I thought I’d give
you a couple of examples from just one artists Suzuka noble, who you see here on the right.
How to Know who has long been especially prized, prized by collectors. He was working, as Mary
Beth alluded, just at the cusp of a major development in printing technology. When prints
in limited color. This would be two or three colors like you see on the left, in addition
to black were supplanted by what we call full color or brocade prints. When you could print
in a theoretically unlimited number of colors, which you see here on the right. Every color
on the right that you see is very likely a separate block of 100 Nobu is also prized
because his early designs were private commissions. And even his later commercial designs were
being beautifully produced, as you can see here in the complex color printing and embossing
of two of the later prints. And I think it’s come out the detail on the right may not be
the best digital photograph, but we’ve used raking light there and you can see that you
get the pattern of the froth of the waves. I mean, it’s not just a blank white area.
Second, many of the lab prints bear the seals of important 19th century collectors. Many
of these appear on rare impressions and masterpieces. They include the Tokyo dealer Kobayashi, Boone
chichi, and the Paris space dealers, Hayashi, Tadamasa and MCI Ken Zawinul, who both appear
to have owned the print on the right we can see his have a pointer, but we can see their
red sails here on the right. There are also several Hocus I prints with the seal of the
French painter Paul Blondeau. Third, the collection features numerous examples of the fine condition
and privately produced prints highly prized by corner stores. Pseudomonas prints which
were typically privately commissioned by poetry groups have a good representation in the lab
collection. Like the hokey example here, they featured blind embossing, gold and silver
leaf, mica, and other luxurious printing effects. Please tend to show it best under different
lighting conditions. So it gives you hear some secondary photography, I mean, you can
see how, with with the light shining in the right way, the dragon on the breaker literally
glows. We are in the process of digitizing this collection with new photography, as mentioned.
And I just want to take a moment to point out that if you go to our online collections,
you can see there on the right when you open the image, we’re working on a new image viewer
but those three thumbnails at the bottom if you click those, you can see different lighting
conditions for those that we have updated so far. So for instance, this is just details
I’m giving you on the left and each of these is normal lighting conditions in the middle.
And I really want you to look here at the design of the crane on the OB you can see
that you get the embossing you get the literally the ridges and the three dimensionality of
the print. And then on the right we have axial light, which allows anything shiny to really
well shine. One can imagine how Japanese prints of this kind might have dazzled viewers already
accustomed to looking closely for good quality impressions and small additions in western
printmaking traditions. There was also evidence that the lads brought other aspects of their
collecting practices from the western prints Tokyo a, for instance, acquiring multiple
impressions of the same design by famous artists as we see here with Hocus I. I’ve spoken already about the intriguing aspects
of the Mary Andrews lab collection, but the mystery and the mystery is that still surround
how why when and from where they were buying prints. But I want to get back to an important
point, specifically how unusual it was to have a female collectors name attached to
the gift. In 1932. William had passed but Mary was still living and ownership of the
Japanese prints had passed to her daughter in law, conveniently also named Mary from
Riverside, New York, Mary the younger, wrote to the trustees of the Portland Art Museum
with the gift offer, along with three stipulations that the prints be retained as a unit that
they’ve been known by the title The Mary Andrews lad collection, and that the donor herself
remain anonymous. She credits her mother in law with assembling the collection, and does
not mention William. A letter two years later from Mary Andrews lad, wintering and Oh, hi
to the curator of the Portland Art Museum, and a Crocker indicates her awareness of the
gift and her delight that the prints are being shared. I don’t want to belabor this point
about gender, but set a quote against the quality of the prints themselves and the encyclopedic
scope of the collection. Mary’s role in all of this is truly one of the most distinguishing
aspects of this collection. For comparison, let me take you back just briefly to three
other early female collectors. First, Kate Buckingham give the Art Institute her
brother’s collection and her own, but the institutional credit names her brother only.
A second instructive example is the case of Henry and losing having Meyer, who were also
buying at the same time as the lads. The have a Meyers probably bought their prints in Paris,
and ultimately left their Japanese prints as a request to the Met. This is another collector
couple, where there are indications that it was the wife who drove the acquisitions. Lucien
was best friends with America sat another collector of Japanese prints who probably
nurtured and encouraged their interest. Although it was Louisiana who ultimately left the collection
to the museum upon her death in 1929. The prints now at the Met are known as the HO
have a Meijer collection request of Mrs. Have a Meijer. Now the hammer prints are probably
one of the closest analogues to the lab prints, but at the same time, donated at the same
time. But the habit prints are also marked by what Julia Meech has called a French taste
for a particular aesthetic they are as you can see here in the center, they’re largely
faded and toned with trimmed margins. So instead, what we think of as kind of the flagship early
gift to the Met, was the collection assembled by Howard Mansfield. This is the one with
the really excellent impressions and is that collection that is on par in terms of quality
with the lab collection. And does a final comparison, we could look at the southern
California collector Emily Chapman Johnson. Johnson bought most of her prints so just
slightly later moment during the 1920s and into the depression years, reportedly paying
only 10 to $25 per print, eventually acquiring nearly 600. Between Johnson and her heirs,
about half of her collection was given to Scripps College in Claremont, and some to
the Norton Simon, although others appear to have been sold. Johnson’s collection was wide
ranging, including prints far more contemporary than anything the lads ever bought. She’s
another model of early West Coast female print collecting, and the scripts collection does
include some treasures, but the condition is highly variable. And the quality of individual
impressions does not reach the level of the Mary Andrews lad collection. And I think the
example you see here makes that point. Johnson had the benefit of an expert advisor and a
gentleman named Judson Metzger. This is a name that is also significant for Portland
because in 1948 Jetson met scar catalogued the entire lab collection. As far as I’m aware,
he was the first person to do so. It is his typewritten manuscripts that forms the basis
for the accession numbers and the organization of the collection as it is today. Placing
prints in roughly chronological order grouped by artist. Although I do not know how Metzger
was approached this task he wasn’t appropriate choice. Metzger was well known as a collector
and dealer of Japanese prints. He was originally an attorney from Illinois, but moved to Los
Angeles in the 1920s where he catalogued private print collections and brokered sales for his
clients, including Edwin and Marjorie, grab horn of the grab horn press in San Francisco,
and Emily Johnson and others. There is no evidence that Mary or William lad ever purchased
prints from that scar, although they would have had opportunity if they were still collecting
by 1916. This was when Metzger sold prints from his own collection at auction in New
York for the first time. And apparently this was a lucrative activity that met Scott repeated
many many times. However, Metzger writes in his forward that it was the lad collection
itself which attracted him to Portland, and then he came for the sole purpose of viewing
it. Met scores role in cataloging the lad collection in 1948 is also known as the as
a testament to the now expanding circuit of collectors, markets and expertise in Japanese
prints along the west coast. Although the major art markets remained in New York City,
the fact that met scar could build and sustain a profitable business as an Asian art specialist,
particularly in the graphic arts of Japan and China, while based in Southern California,
speaks to a shift in the currents of Japanese print collecting outside of the East Coast
Midwest access. By the 1940s something is fundamentally different. In an earlier era,
the firm of Vickery, Atkins and Tory broke new ground in the cultivation of West Coast
collectors. A generation later, dealers like Metzger, reaped the benefits of an increasingly
knowledgeable, wealthy and passionate cohort of new enthusiasts for Japanese prints. In closing, my talk today has centered on
the lads as private kind of stores and really as kind of pioneers in the serious appreciation
of Japanese prints on the west coast. Their early involvement with the Portland Art Museum,
and the families general philanthropy is one point of context for this transformative gift
to a public museum. In other words, one way to get it the question of why they were collecting
Japanese prints and how they came to this museum. Another is the larger cultural interest
in Japanese prints in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a
framework of mass reception that deserves closer study. There is also the western the
superlative collection of Western printmaking, but the lads assembled, which left Portland,
but which surely must have developed their sense of personal taste and preference and
their cultivated I for the graphic arts, the profusion of color and printing effects. In
later 18th and 19th century Japanese prints was a market change from the monochrome tonal
variations of Italia printmaking, and it opened up a whole new world for sophisticated connoisseurship
by private collectors. This is an extraordinary case study of early Japanese print collecting
in America. The Mary Andrews lab collection, though it’s far less well known, counters
the story of the heroic male collector on the east coast. I suspect that geography and
gender are only the tip of the iceberg with this collection. I think that a fuller study
that places West Coast collecting or women collectors at the center instead of the margins
would yield new insights not only into fine art collecting practices, but also intercultural
reception, and the habits of discourse that still undergird how we talk about Asian art
objects and culture today. I was going to close there. But I I wanted just share with
you that when I began this project, there was only one image of Mary Andrews lad that
I’d seen anywhere, you can see William sr, and William Jr. I mean, they’re all over the
internet, even today. They’re so well known as civic benefactors, and founding fathers.
And even Mary’s mother in law, Caroline, you can find images of her. But I couldn’t find
anything of Mary except for this one image, which is a black and white photograph of an
oil painting, whereabouts unknown that had been found in the museum archives. And so
she was kind of this, she was just the name, really. And then I finally took myself over
to the Historical Society. And found in a in a you know, they know what they have archivists
always know what they have, but I didn’t know what they had. The description certainly didn’t
say it, but pulling through the folder. She really became real when, when I open this
folder, and I get chills just thinking about it. So thank you so much for letting me share
this story with you today. We have microphones if anyone has a question? We’re recording this and would love to hear the questions. Thank you for this marvelous presentation.
My question is what was happening on the other side of the pond with the Japanese prints?
Was anybody in France or England, or Germany looking at Asian or Japanese person we was
the West Coast. The night is for all these collections. Sorry, could you repeat the last part there
was the West Coast The night is of beginning all
of this collection of Asian art and Japanese art. The question is about whether in Europe they’re
collecting prints and in fact, I mentioned the Paris dealer Hayashi, Tata masa a couple
of times. And if anything, Paris was the center of Japanese print collecting initially, that
was where Vincent van Gogh saw prints who He also became a dealer. Secret being was
active in that area. So yes, there was certainly quite a lot of activity. happening a little
bit earlier, actually, in Paris, the center kind of moves a little bit to New York by
the early years of the 20th century. And in the 19th century, it’s a little more focused
in Europe. But the World’s Columbian Exposition did a great deal to bring particularly Japanese
art to the United States, it really galvanized interest in that area. This was not just because
of folks like all of the white men I’ve mentioned, or fellows and so forth. But also because
of the participation of the Japanese government. That was the first World’s Fair, where they
really invested, I think, I’ve seen figures that they invested something like a million
dollars in their exhibits in Chicago in 1893. And that seems to have had kind of a ripple
effect all across the nation. Thank you. Good evening. First of all, I’d like to say
this is was a marvelous presentation. I’ve learned a lot about a particular field of
of information that I hadn’t even considered before. And my question is, what inspired you to pursue this particular
field? What was the are you asking about Japanese prints? Or about
this collection? Japanese prints? Oh, gosh, I you can tell I love origin stories, just
not my own? That’s a good question. You know, when I went to graduate school, I thought of the now it’s
quite personal. When I went to graduate school, I thought I would work actually on modern
and contemporary Asian art. That was the field I was working in already in New York City.
And it just made a lot of sense. But I think you know, those of us who are historians at
heart, you start to move backwards in time. This is not an uncommon, there’s some giggling
happening from my fellow curators and the front. They know what I mean, you. There’s,
so that’s one the historian me just wanted to keep pursuing backwards to a certain moment.
And I suppose the fact that I work so much on the the real origins of color printing
and books is that I’m interested in well, where does it come from? But there is also
the the materiality of, of art of of objects. And for all that prints and drawings are often
thought of as being two dimensional. Of course, they’re not. So I’m fascinated actually, by I’ll be quite nerdy things like paper. So when, when I’m given the opportunity to
look in a microscope and look at the fibers of the Cosmo paper, and see how long they
are, and what’s happening and how the the inks and the pigments and the visual colorants
are sitting on the surface of a print that sort of when I’m the happiest? Well, that’s very cool as a fellow student
of history at Portland State University. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. Thank you for coming. My pleasure. Thank you very much for your talk. I was always
wondering, is the artist Shahrukh who represented in the collection? Indeed he is. And where the galleries open
at this moment as they were planned to be, I would direct you over there to see one of
them. We have a really nice shout out good. It’s also online. If you can’t wait to see
it, you have to see it when you get home. Really nice. Shout out to that that was last
shown in 1949. But you will marry kind of gasp there. But you know, that’s that’s the
thing with printss, they, they they’re often you know, they’re stored flat, not on racks
vertically. They’re there, there’s an intimacy to them. And it’s, I’m just delighted that
we can bring them out from time to time and share them. But yes, there were there are
a couple of Shockers in the collection. Thank you. Got a few questions over here. This is more of a story than a question. The French jeweler Henri Vever. And there’s
an example of her of his tortoise shell comb with an art nouveau design in your current
Paris show. He collected impressionist French Impressionist paintings. And then he switched
over to prints. And the story is that his wife said, either choose and get rid of the
others. So he sold Renoir’s and Degas and other prints, he had more than 52 to foster
his habit. So I wonder if there are other people who go from what, who, who have perhaps
attention deficit disorder, go from one to another to another. Thankfully, that’s a great point. That’s the
reason I mentioned already there. And I mentioned people like Charles Lang for we think of freer
for his patronage of Whistler, of course, and for his incredible collections of Japanese
and Chinese painting, in addition to decorative objects. But he sold his Japanese print collection,
and he was accumulating it over a period of 10 or 15 years. That’s not a passing interest.
Right. So, you know, I wish, wish these were sort of more obsessive men who kept more obsessive
lists and inventories. Because I think it’d be quite fascinating. I think one of the things
that would be wonderful to do work on is to see if there was a way to trace how some of
these prints were actually trading hands between some of these no names of the day and these
larger collections. Thank you. I’m curious how these people kept their hundreds and hundreds of prints what what kind of places? Were they
living or keeping them? Oh Gosh, question is, where are they keeping their
prints? Wow, think about things to make your mind one run wild. And I suspect that they
were not so different than from print collectors today, some of whom may be in this audience,
where you reach a point where unless you’re storing them at the artists Association, which
they they potentially might have been. I mentioned that Mary Babbitt lad living in New York,
Mary Andrews lads daughter in law was had become the owner of the collection when it
was donated to the museum. There’s no indication that prints ever actually went to the east
coast, they probably stayed here. And Mary Andrews lad, herself was spending more and
more time in Ohio. So you know, probably they were at the Museum at that point. But I’ve
seen prints in all kinds of configurations under the bed in the in the linen closet,
I hope never in the bathroom. You know, moisture is terrible for them. But all kinds of things.
And there’s a pretty famous case, Frank Lloyd Wright did design but I think never built
him. Is that correct? Or where did build and then it’s it was destroyed a custom, a truly
a custom kind of gallery and storage vault room for I think it was the Spalding brothers
in Boston, who gave their collection to Boston. That would have that would just be a Marvel
today to see because just in terms of seeing both right, or Franklin writes architecture,
and those design choices, specific custom built for this particular format. But it really
varies. And I think it’s much like it is today. Thanks. Thank you for a very interesting talk. I thoroughly
enjoyed it. My question, you mentioned that the collectors would go to dealers, and they
would go to perhaps the world fairs of the time and probably maybe purchased between
themselves. But was there any evidence of them or exactly who would go to Japan? How
did the How did the prints find their way here? That’s a great question. partly through dealers,
certainly, they might go on a buying trip or two. More often for in terms of how dealers
were getting prints, because they would have agents in Japan Yokohama, at the time in the
late 19th century becomes such a port for things leaving the country of course, as I
said, hundreds of thousands of prints left by one means or another, people like Hayashi
in Paris would probably have had, you know, his own sort of personal staff or agents going
to do that kind of thing. But there are cases of Americans going collectors going to Japan.
And I haven’t found the real smoking gun yet. But I found the pseudo smoking gun. And there
are a couple of references in the literature, that sort of pepper that say that the lads
went to Japan at some point. One of those as they went in the 1920s. And I think it
was unlikely that they were still buying by then. However, I found a couple of weeks ago,
and I’ve been working on this for months. So that’s what it’s like. I found a letter
from WBIR, who was another of the early sign ease for the Portland Art Association. And
it is, it is an amazing letter to William meet lad about his trip to Japan that he just
took and he says you must go before it changes. And I forget the date of that. I want to say
it’s something like 1907 or maybe it’s 1911. So it doesn’t narrow my date range that well,
but you know, there’s just these little hints more and more. One of the folks that he meets,
apparently I are met on the boat back was I’m forgetting I think it’s Emerson’s younger
son. Who is the Oh gosh, I’m forgetting the name. Gosh, Christine Longfellow, thank you. Thank
you, Miss Longfellow. Lot one of Longfellow sons. Christine group has written an amazing
book on this fellow is called long fellows tattoos, went to Japan and became just a total
Japan nut. I mean, he, he tattooed his body. He was in all of the photography studios,
he accumulated, probably ship loads worth of material. And so, you know, he brought
supposedly a bunch of prints back to Boston, for instance, which probably made their hands
into the way of someone like fellows that at some point, but that’s another kind of
again, it’s anecdotal, but it’s just another little point of connection. So apparently,
I are met long fellows, other brother on the back on the ship. So there there are people
going without a doubt. But in the absence of ship manifests and diaries, it’s it’s hard
to piece it together. I think we have time for one more. Last question.
And if not, we will give Jeannie a round of applause again. Thank you all. Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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