About four years ago, when I thought I’d finished inventorying and cataloging Jim’s better collections, we opened one last drawer in his study — the drawer where he kept trinkets and curios he used for gifts. Beneath the parrot brooches and the scuba-diver toys, we found a few “lost” treasures, including this one — 25 19th-century Japanese paintings and calligraphies, each by a different artist, collected into a traditional accordian-style album, about 8 inches square. The art works appear to have had lots of worm holes prior to being pasted into the album, so I think it falls into the category of shuga-jo — an album of work gathered by a collector (as opposed to being assembled by one artist or a group of artists themselves).
Vague memories surface. I can’t find a receipt, but memory suggests Jim bought it from a dealer-friend in London when we visited there circa 1980. Not too long after that, Jim was cash-strapped and sold it to me. I stowed it with my own few treasures. Years later — 1993 — when we finally got married and moved in together, I decided the album should be stored with similar things in Jim’s space. He put it in the famous bottom drawer.
Finding it was a surprise, like running into a long-lost friend.
But only now am I getting around to photographing it and putting it into our catalog.
I posted the album on Flickr to reach the broadest audience, maybe even finding someone who can translate a bit or provide some commentary. Click the link or image below to see it.
The beauty of too much stuff, plus faulty memories over the arc of time, is that you can delight in the rediscovery of old friends. Wine poured.