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Bonhams Katchen Collection Part II

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Oishii
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Re: Bonhams Katchen Collection Part II

Postby Oishii » Thu May 25, 2017 6:35 pm

Excerpt from "In Search of Netsuke and Inro" by George Cohen (1974) :

"Geoffrey Moss introduced me to Julius Katchen and I will always remember the exciting time when my wife and I went with Geoffrey to Paris and viewed his fantastic collection. We became very friendly with Julius and his charming wife, Arlette, who also share her husband's enthusiasm for netsuke. Julius was an extraordinary man, he was a brilliant pianist dedicated to his vocation and relentless in his pursuit of fine netsuke. We often met to exchange items when he was in London and quite frequently he fitted in a concert at the Birmingham Town Hall, I'm sure in the hope of talking me out of one of my pieces ! I looked forward to these evenings when we took him back home and discussed netsuke till the early hours of the morning.
When Julius saw the Okatomo rabbit I had bought from Marchant and, knowing what it cost, he promptly offered me £ 100 for it. I was quite flattered but would not sell, so Julius returned to London. Before leaving the country, he telephoned to say he must have it and raised his bit to £ 200 - this was an outrageously high figure, but I pointed out that if I was to build up a good collection, I could not sell the cream.
I can only imagine that the rabbit became an obsession with Julius, because at regular intervals he telephoned me from Paris as well as London, increasing his offer time after time. Finally realising that cash was not having the desired effect, he produced a large locquat signed Mitsuhiro, but unlike similar models the fruit was cut open to reveal a carved scene. As a netsuke it did not really appeal to me, but over and above the cash offer it was extremely hard to refuse ; however, I resisted temptation.
Once when he appeared on television and was being interviewed after his piano recital he took advantage of the unique opportunity to mention his love of netsuke and must have been hoping that somewhere a collector was looking in who might contact him. I relate these episodes to show how persistent Julius was in his search for netsuke. He was undoubtedly a genius and his tragic death at an early age was a profound loss to the world of music and to those who had been fortunate enough to have known him."
we presume the rabbit that Mr Cohen talks about is this one :
Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 20.34.47.png
Jan

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lmallier
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Re: Bonhams Katchen Collection Part II

Postby lmallier » Fri May 26, 2017 5:43 am

Super story Jan. Thanks for sharing.

Louis
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"Qui n'a pas les moyens de ses ambitions a tous les soucis" 
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chonchon
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Re: Bonhams Katchen Collection Part II

Postby chonchon » Fri May 26, 2017 7:14 am

No 'like' button here, but agreed! 8-)
Piers

Size is something.

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LUBlub
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Re: Bonhams Katchen Collection Part II

Postby LUBlub » Fri May 26, 2017 10:55 am

Jan, it is really the representative story of one passionate collector...
I can understand Katchen's passion ... any real collector has no limits on his search, it is said that we are a little crazy,
Thanks to this madness were created great collections of the past...
I did a 12K kilometers round trip in 3 days just to buy two old netsukes ...
Each piece has its own value of human stories ...
Excellence in netsuke art don't need signature or pedigree, or age, only quality, aesthetics, beauty.

onimh
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Re: Bonhams Katchen Collection Part II

Postby onimh » Fri May 26, 2017 12:16 pm

From the list Reinhard (Lohrberg) posted below of the pre-1969 acquisitions, there doesn't seem to me to be any clear distinction between the quality (or price) of those versus the rest of the collection.
Is there really any significant number of collectors who are buying because of the so called provenance of the netsuke having been purchased by Mr. Katchen?

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LUBlub
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Re: Bonhams Katchen Collection Part II

Postby LUBlub » Fri May 26, 2017 2:34 pm

onimh wrote:From the list Reinhard (Lohrberg) posted below of the pre-1969 acquisitions, there doesn't seem to me to be any clear distinction between the quality (or price) of those versus the rest of the collection.
Is there really any significant number of collectors who are buying because of the so called provenance of the netsuke having been purchased by Mr. Katchen?



This is a very personal field ... I personally, as it appears in my "motto" , I have never been interested in the "status " as a clue of quality or authenticity ... (impossible, except for very rare exceptions)
We know that in so many World museums every day discover copies or falsifications that have also deceived the "experts" ....
Certainly there are many collectors who look to the origin of the piece to increase its value, but without quality to known provenance does not value anything, vice versa, quality without origin pedigree or provenience do not change the intrinsic value of the netsuke.
Beauty and quality do not need any make up.
No body, not me certainly, refuse to buy one genuine Masanao Kyoto because don't have provenience.
Time ago some netsuke of one famous name with "noble tittle", went to auction...result: poor prices and questionable quality - is my opinion and taste -
Provenience give only more human touch in the story of the netsuke for people interested in this point.
This is my personal opinion.
Excellence in netsuke art don't need signature or pedigree, or age, only quality, aesthetics, beauty.

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KPR
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Re: Bonhams Katchen Collection Part II

Postby KPR » Fri May 26, 2017 2:44 pm

What is so special about the Katchen collection?
One knew the passionate collector Julius, but very few persons were allowed to see his (more precisely Arlette's) collection. Only after the books (Netsuke 7) and the auctions were the pieces generally known.
e.g. A well-known London dealer, who has sold many pieces of Arlette at really astronomical prices, was also not allowed to see the collection. He got only a few very badly made black and white photos to choose the pieces.
Perhaps this was the great mystery of this collection, now it´s only history.
Klaus

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souldeep
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Re: Bonhams Katchen Collection Part II

Postby souldeep » Sat May 27, 2017 8:47 am

KPR wrote:Rheinhard, this was my guess. The same was also observed in Katchen I.
Whoever is interested in Julius pieces is on the safe side when the combination is purchased and the year under 1969.

It's been very interesting watching this meaningful debate develop, sat back, as a silent reader. Thanks to you who are providing this analysis.

To add something further to support the general debate; it's not unknown for "friends" to slip in netsuke under a provenanced sale, the provenance offering such a favour, or even as a private service.

I think the discrepancy you highlight only matters if someone has been willing to pay an extra premium specifically for the provenance tag, who then discovers retrospectively that the provenance is not what was suggested. I can see how that might leave a bitter taste in that individuals mouth.

For me I worry little regarding provenance. I can't often justify the additional premium it brings. I look instead to quality. Sometimes a piece with provenance is unique and offers the best quality, I buy then, if I can afford to. As only a medium pocket type collector, I look to build an interesting collection within my range of affordability. This simply means I must maximise quality (in the object itself) vs cost. As provenance adds an additional cost, it's the first attribute I consider excluding. I have regularly found my best cost criteria applies to dealers, not in big named auctions.

I'm not saying provenance doesn't have value, it clearly does, Bonham's, the best of the auctioneers, that evidence this. Provenance also provides comfort for some. The history of piece is of course mostly interesting, and can on occasion add something more interesting than the piece itself.

A practical thought experiment I use when I consider my own personal value of provenance is; if I discover that a piece I currently own, with attached provenance, has been incorrectly assigned the provenance, does it then depreciate my appreciation of the piece? If so provenance mattered to me. If not, then it had no bearing on my purchase.
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.

borat
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Re: Bonhams Katchen Collection Part II

Postby borat » Sat May 27, 2017 9:41 am

I agree that provenance is important .... I especially take note of a piece when it has passed through many historically important collections eg lot 53. Provenance = Guest collection, Isobel Sharpe, M.T Hindson collection
An important collector once told me, if there are multiple important provenances with a single piece, make sure you can identify & understand what each of these knowledgeable people saw in it specifically.

borat
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Re: Bonhams Katchen Collection Part II

Postby borat » Sat May 27, 2017 9:51 am

My purchase from Katchen 2 (not a Julius piece :( )
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