Turner Auctions + Appraisals is pleased to present over 240 lots of fine Japanese woodblock prints and Asian decorative arts, featuring works from the 1800s and 1900s. . Most of the woodblock artworks come from the Japanese Print Collection of Jeff & Marilyn Smith; the remaining items come from other collectors and estates.
The online auction features a diverse range of Asian arts. Japanese prints in the sale from the Smith Collection include about 100 works by Hasui, Kuniyoshi, Yoshida, Hiroshige, Bartlett, Lum, Hyde, Masamitsu, Yoshitoshi, Eizan, Eisen, Shoson and others. Japanese paintings include watercolors and shunga, plus calligraphy and scrolls. Japanese decorative arts include Satsuma; Kutani ware; Imari bowls, dishes and figures; gold lacquer inro and boxes and other lacquer items; Japanese ceramic flatware; Meiji bronze vases and sculpture; bronze Buddhas; tsuba; sword fittings; wood netsuke; cloisonné items; scrolls; calligraphy; and Seikichiro Goto paper. Chinese scrolls and calligraphy, and other Asian items round out the sale.
Both Jeff and Marilyn Smith have been avid art enthusiasts and collectors for over 45 years – first individually, then as a couple. In addition to Japanese prints, their interests have been diverse, including Works Progress Administration (WPA) art, European and American etchings, California and American paintings, automobilia, small sculptures and three-dimensional items.
Thinking back, Mr. Smith dates his interest in collecting to the mid-1960s, where he was an art major at the University of Puget Sound, studying print making, painting, restoration, art education and art history – activities he still pursues today. One of his professors required an exchange of student artworks every semester, launching a life-long enthusiasm for collecting, and cultivating an eye and appetite for the arts. Thus began a life that “always had art on the walls.”
In 1983, Jeff and Marilyn Smith married and moved to Chicago. It was then the newlyweds’ interest in Japanese woodblock prints also began, introduced to them by a friend and art teacher in the Chicago area, who also shared his expertise on the subject. During their 18 years in Chicago, they visited art and antique shows on the weekends and began to acquire a growing number of prints. The couple started collecting triptychs and other Oban-sized prints (10” x 15”), focusing on masters of woodblock prints from the late 1700s on, including Yoshitoshi, Hokusai and Yoshida. More recently, their interests have expanded to contemporary artists such as Masamitsu.
Along the way, the Smiths have enhanced their collection by frequent international and domestic travels – to Paris, London, Italy, Germany, Shanghai, New York and other major cities on the East Coast – where they regularly would visit and buy at auctions and galleries.
In 1999, the couple retired from their long and successful careers – Jeff Smith as a manager of supply operations for United; Marilyn Smith from software engineering management for IBM – then moved to Napa Valley, California. Now, after consolidating two homes into one, they have decided to downsize. “It takes a lot of work to store and care for collections,” said Mr. Smith. “After over 45 enjoyable years of collecting, it’s now time to sell and treat ourselves, perhaps with a cruise.”
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