Sunday, December 7, 2008

'Dealers who don't get it' and 'A Day at Creeds' posted

11/3/08 (begun on the night before the fateful election):

I haven't written and posted one of these for nearly seven months, and have probably lost whatever readership I had, by not rewarding your checking the site. But for those who still do, there are a few new items.

- Two new additions to the "Responses and Reminiscences." No. 56 is "Dealers Who Don't Get Credit," which, in addition to discussing that phenomenon generally, details two cases: Yabumoto Sôgorô, who put together a great collection of Chinese Buddhist bronzes for a collector originally from Taiwan, who now gets the credit for his "good eye," with Yabumoto going unmentioned; and Joseph Seo, who was responsible for the excellent selection of Chinese paintings and calligraphy, many of them coming from the very dangerous artist-dealer Chang Ta-ch'ien, that went to the new collector John Crawford, and who similarly went unmentioned when a great symposium celebrated Crawford's success as a collector. The other Reminiscence, No. 57, is titled "A Night At the Opera in Berkeley: 'A Day At Creed's'", and relates (more fully—it was touched on before, in R&R no. 2, on the role of music in my life) how the composer Gordon Cyr and myself as librettist produced a comic chamber-opera that enjoyed some success in Berkeley in the late 1940s, and is still remembered by a few. This essay ends with an offer of a CD disk containing a recording of the opera, made when it was performed on Radio Station KPFA. The offer is the first of what will, I hope, be a series of offers of JCahillDisks, to be sent to anyone who sends me (4085 West 40th Ave., Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6N 3B9) a note requesting it, along with your mailing address and a $10 bill-- or two fives, whatever, U.S. currency only—or, from foreign sources, a postal money order for that amount in US dollars. This will pay for the disk, the postage, and the time of Barry Magrill, my research assistant, who will make and send them. (No other kind of payment will be accepted: no personal checks, no foreign currency, no i.o.u.'s, no trades etc.)

- Other JCahillDisks to be issued later, if plans go well, will include: one (or more) with images of paintings I believe to be forgeries by Chang Ta-ch'ien, to accompany a text titled "Chang Ta-ch'ien's Forgeries of Old Paintings," to be posted on my website; a disk with images to accompany one or more of my old USC lectures "Women in Chinese Painting" (WCP 1-6), also available on the website; and perhaps, eventually, a disk with black-and-white images of the illustrations of the two-and-a-half chapters of my never-to-be-published fourth volume in my series, on the website as Early Qing. I had collected most of the photos for these, and can in principle make them available on disks in this way.

- Good news: my last major book, titled Pictures for Use and Pleasure: Vernacular Painting in High Qing China,, will be published by the University of California Press in Berkeley around the end of 2009. Watch for it. It will be followed, I hope, by the smaller book tentatively titled Chinese Erotic Paintings and Prints, expanded from what was once to be a long sixth chapter in the main book. I hope that the U.C. Press will also take this on.

- Other writings of mine to watch for, if the subjects interest you: a long paper titled "A Group of Anonymous Northern Figure Paintings from the Qianlong Period," to be included in the soon-to-be-published Festschrift volume for Wen Fong, titled Bridges to Heaven; and an article on the newly-rediscovered late Ming Chinese erotic books from the Shibui Collection, feared lost (see my article in Orientatiions for November 2003), to be published in a special issue of Orientations, in mid-2009, devoted to this rediscovery and the acquisition of the Chinese materials in it by Christer von der Burg's Muban Foundation in London, with other articles by Christer himself, Soren Edgren, and others celebrating this important new acquisition. I will write briefly, also, on why two of the newly-available items are important to the study of the beginnings of Japanese Ukiyo-e.

- Other news: The Sanlian Book Co. in China is publishing what should be good Chinese editions—good paper, good illustrations—of four of my books in the near future, the same four already published in Chinese editions by Rock Pub. Co. in Taipei: the three Yuan-Ming books (Hills, Parting, Distant Mts.) and Compelling Image. They plan also to publish Painter's Practice, but some problems are evidently holding up the completion of the translation. Painter's Practice is also to appear soon in a Korean translation—I learned this when I spent a few days in Seoul recently—my first visit there (except for a brief stopover by boat in the early 80s?) since I was stationed in Seoul as a U.S. Army language officer (Japanese—I spoke no Korean) some sixty years ago, 1946-48. A brief account of that time and what I did then appears already as Reminiscence No. 48, "Music in Korea"; I will write it up at greater length for publication in some Korean magazine.

All for now; I will not wait so long before writing another one. (P.S.: The election went as it should have, we can feel hopeful again, and take some pride, instead of the shame of the past eight years, in being U. S. citizens.)

James Cahill