Con đường chông gai của nhà sưu tầm đến Hokusai

giấc mơ 30 năm của giáo sư về việc tập hợp bộ sưu tầm hoàn chỉnh “Ba mươi sáu cảnh núi Phú Sĩ”, đỉnh cao trong sự nghiệp của nghệ sĩ, dẫn đến cuộc đấu giá

Jitendra V. Singh was nearly 60, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, when he finally bought his first woodblock print (bản in khắc gỗ đầu tiên) by the revered Japanese printmaker Katsushika Hokusai, whose work from the Edo 19th century includes a masterly series, “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.”

It was 2013, and Dr. Singh was enchanted (mê hoặc) by Hokusai’s view of the sacred mountain in Japan, central to each image in the artist’s series: sometimes dominant, sometimes in the background, but always present.

It was not simply the beauty of the prints that appealed to Dr. Singh, but the subject matter. As a religious Hindu, his mountain trips were emotionally powerful (cảm xúc mạnh mẽ) “because climbing the mountains is a metaphor for our lives,” he said. “We are all alone. If you strip away everything, life is a journey.”

In 1990, he visited Japan, where the mother of a student from back in the United States gave him a high-quality print by Kawase Hasui, one of 20th-century Japan’s most celebrated printmakers, which included an image of a mountain (hình ảnh của một ngọn núi). On his own, Dr. Singh settled for cheap reproductions of Hokusai’s “Great Wave Off Kanagawa” and the image known as “Red Fuji,” admiring the mountain’s red tint. “The Hokusais were stunning,” he remembered.

He hung the reproductions at his home in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Over the following years, Hokusai’s work grew on him. “I found them very stylized and beautiful in detail and composition,’’ he recalled, “whether it is the people, landscapes (phong cành) or the sea.” But he could never imagine buying one until 2011, when he had made some money in investments and was again visiting Tokyo. He asked a friend where he might buy more Hokusai prints and was sent to the Jimbocho neighborhood, where art galleries (phòng trưng bày tác phẩm nghệ thuật) sell fine prints from the Ukiyo-e period.

As moved as he was by the art, he believed the investment in Hokusai would be a good ‘‘financial diversifier,’’ the professor said. Last year, after Christie’s sold a print of “Great Wave Off Kanagawa” for $2.8 million, a record for the artist, Dr. Singh chose to put his set up for auction. (Christie’s is not charging him a typical seller’s commission.)

He has put his prints into a trust. When they are sold, the money will go into the trust. Dr. Singh can withdraw 6 percent of the value of the trust every year. The balance grows tax-free and will go to charity (từ thiện).

source: nytimes,

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