MUCH of the art world takes a sabbatical in August until the trade gets back into gear in September, but looking further ahead here is an early taster of something to relish at Asian Art in London in November.
As part of his 15th year in the Asiafest Japanese art specialist Gregg Baker holds two London shows, the first an exhibition of Recent Acquisitions at his gallery at 142 Kensington Church Street, W8, but the second, ‘Rocks and Waves of the Hasegawa School’, looks a showstopper and will be mounted at a special exhibition space at The Gallery, Wolf & Badger, 32 Dover Street in Mayfair.
It will showcase a single pair of 17th century screens by a contemporary of Hasegawa Tohaku.
The inspiration for Rocks and Waves is a 17th century painting by Tohaku in the form of sliding doors and wall panels now designated an Important Cultural Treasure and housed in the Zenrin-ji temple in Kyoto.
Tohaku’s refined style is seen to striking effect in the Rocks and Waves screens with open spaces between rocks and swirling waves. The power of the element of water is of huge importance in Japanese culture and the screens reflect this fascination with water as a potent force represented by the power of water hitting rocks.
They are executed through a fusion of ink and gold techniques and as you can see from the illustration of the screen to be offered the style comes over as surprisingly modern.
This is one of only three existing pairs and is sure to be a must-see of the Asian Art celebrations. Gregg Baker specialises in Japanese screens and his display of screens on his Maastricht stand has been much admired since his TEFAF debut in 2010.
He did not give a price for his London pair but did tell me a similar pair sold for over $1m at Christie’s in New York last year. I don’t think the price tag will be too far away from that…