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Live Auction

2023 Summer Fine Art & Antiques (Day 1)

Sat, Jul 8, 2023 09:00AM EDT
Lot 16

Drawing of Jurolin attr. Hokusai, ex-Ernest Fenollosa

Estimate: $1,600 - $1,800
Sold for

Bid Increments

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$100 $25
$500 $50
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$3,000 $200
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$100,000 $10,000
Attributed to Katsushika Hokusai (Japan, 1760-1849) brushed ink on paper sketch depicting the bearded figure of Jurojin, god of longevity, accompanied by a mino-game (a long-lived turtle with algae resembling hair growing from its shell). Jurojin smiles faintly as he opens his Scroll of Life, which states the lifespan of all living things. On laid paper affixed to Japan paper. Typed label affixed to backing reads "Sketch by Hokusai / 1750-1849 Japan./From Collection of the/Late Ernest Fenollosa," along with "148" and, in pencil, "1750-1849." Additional sticker on backing reads "For Patsy/Wedd. Gift from Kin[g]sbury Bull." Housed under glass in a bamboo frame with tan mat. Original Sheet: 9 1/8" H x 12 1/2" W. Full Sheet: 10 1/2" H x 14 1/4" W. Frame: 12 5/8" H x 16 7/16" W. Note: Ernest Fenollosa (1853-1903) was Curator of Oriental Art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) from 1890-1896. He attended the MFA's art school before traveling to Japan in 1878 to teach at the Imperial University at Tokyo. After eight years, he helped found the Tokyo Fine Arts Academy and the Imperial Museum, acting as its director in 1888. In 1886 he sold his art collection to Boston physician Charles Goddard Weld (1857-1911) on the condition that it go to the MFA. In 1890 he returned to Boston to be Curator of the Department of Oriental Art at the MFA. There Fenollosa organized the first exhibition of Chinese painting at the MFA and developed the Department into a training center for generations of scholars. Fenollosa published "Masters of Ukioye," a historical account of Japanese paintings and color prints that were exhibited at the New York Fine Arts Building, in 1896. He inspired Boston collectors to venture into the relatively new field of Far Eastern art, endowing the MFA with one of the earliest and best Asian art collections in the United States. Fenollosa, together with Weld and another collector, William Sturgis Bigelow, formed what were known as the "Boston Orientalists." (Adapted from the Dictionary of Art Historians) Fenollosa served as a visiting lecturer at Yale University during the 1903-1904 academic year. Frederick Kingsbury Bull was a Sophomore at Yale at this time. (Source: "Catalog of Yale University, 1903-1904," New Haven, 1903).


With mat burn, foxing, and discoloration to sheet. Scattered fingerprints and discoloration to mat.

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A Boston-area private collection.