This is the seventh part of the successful series which provides art historians and students with primary-source materials relating to the Western reception of Japanese arts from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century.
It is now common knowledge that art collectors in Europe around the end of the nineteenth century played a very important role in the development of Japanese influence on Western art, in particular on the Impressionists who became acquainted with Ukiyoe by Hokusai, or other Japanese artefacts, many of which were imported from Japan by art dealers for their clients in Europe. The majority of those collections of Japanese art held by individual art lovers were dispersed on their deaths, but some were acquired by museums in Europe and America and are now valued as treasures which often form the core of their collections of Japanese art.
It is not easy to trace precisely what objects were brought from Japan to the West and in what way some of them are housed today by Western institutions, but one of the most useful tools for art historians are the auction catalogues of those pioneer Japanese art collectors through which they are able to assess the very early phase of Western reception of Japanese arts. However, as such catalogues are mostly published by auction houses for their customers only and are not widely available, very few of them are held or systematically collected by academic libraries. To remedy this omission, this collection brings together sixteen catalogues of auctions which took place around the turn of the century for the sale of collections by eight leading French collectors. Together, they provide academics and students in the subject with a unique and rare primary source. All the catalogues are reproduced with numerous pictures and plates, together with foldouts as originally published.