Over the years we’ve seen Hudson offer a mini lesson in globalization: There are dealers who concentrate in the arts and wares of all four corners of the earth, but until now there was no one specializing in the arts of Japan.
That’s changed…. Jim Marinaccio and his daughter Maggie (left) have opened an upstate branch of their beautiful Naga Antiques, one of my favorite Manhattan resources.
While the Manhattan gallery, a jewel box in an East 61st Street townhouse, shows fine Asian art with the emphasis on Japanese screens, their new space at Naga North is big, and the gallery’s size has allowed Jim and Maggie to expand beyond Japan throughout Asia and west to our own hemisphere. They have Mid-Century American furniture, Biedermeier pieces, contemporary glass—a great mix of furniture and objects and aesthetics. There is plenty to inspire the country house decorator with the chief inspiration being “just because it’s a 19th century Greek Revival house in Columbia County doesn’t mean I have to hang a weathervane over the mantle.” Go ahead—mix it up. Think global and act local…(Yeah yeah - Yadda yadda yadda – but it’s true!)
Hermes and I are huge screen fans. In all forms and from all countries, we love them. We’ve used Jean-Michel Frank macassar ebony screens, carved Indian screens, big twelve panel coromandel screens from China and, of course, lots of Japanese screens. Naga has a huge inventory and Jim has great taste (a key combination..). His screens run the gamut from the 17th-century Edo period through post WWII; from the big six panel models clocking in at 12’ long and 5’ tall to two panel ‘tea ceremony’ screens that are 30” long by 24” high. In the past year Naga has supplied our projects with screens that span 400 years. (The 17th century ones can be treasures).
The screen behind Maggie’s desk (above) would be perfect over most of the country mantles I can think of. Signed and sealed by the artist, Shunka, from the 1920’s, it is beautifully painted, lovely and pale with grasses and sparrows. To me, this piece makes my case: Exotic without trying too hard…Contemporary without being new.
We love screens with the “roll down bamboo shade” motif. This six panel example has the added bonus of wisteria and tassels on a gold leaf background.
It’s peony season in the Hudson Valley and the big 19th-century screen on the right of this snapshot has a riot of them. The painting on the left is circa 1965, by French artist Alain le Yanouc. Hanging over an Indian mother of pearl inlaid chest—how much more global can we get?
The blue and white ‘monumental’ covered vases are 19th-century Chinese. The chest is Beidermeier and the painting above is by a contemporary Japanese artist, Teraishi Shosaku.
Maybe one reason I am drawn to Japanese art is the extensive use of animal imagery. There are monkeys, cranes, hawks, dogs, frogs, etc etc, and I am a sucker for an animal in my art… My apartment is full of life sized—or larger—animals. The place is crawling with critters. Happily, zero maintenance! Which is more than I can say for the 15-year-old Pancho.
Last year I sprung for my own screen from Naga—a late 19th-century two panel piece featuring a handsome fox reclining under grasses (left). In Japan, the fox, “kitsune”, is a magical animal. They can assume human form, and they loom large in Japanese mythology, sometimes wise and benevolent, sometimes malicious pranksters. (Tell-tale sign the ‘person’ you’re chatting with is a kitsune—the bushy tail!) For now, my kitsune and Pancho Sr., the pre-Columbian Colima Chihuahua, seem to be coexisting nicely.
So – check out Naga North soon. The gallery is handsome, Jim and Maggie have a wealth of information on myriad subjects—and they are fun… Reasons enough?
536 Warren Street
Friday, Saturday & Monday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.