Sudden Shower at Shono Station
Series: 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road
c1833 Publisher: Hoeido
Merlin C. Dailey & Associates,
Inc. has offered fine Japanese prints, paintings, drawings and illustrated
books since 1970. As the East West Gallery in upstate New York,
my wife Mary Ann and I opened for business in the summer of that
Our earliest forays into
the 'Floating World' of Japanese art began with assembling a small
study collection of Japanese prints from local antique shops in
Kansas City, while studying painting, printmaking, Asian philosophy
and Asian Art history at the Kansas City Art Institute. We received
our B. F. A. degrees in the summer of 1958. My greatest treasure
in those days was a fine impression of Hiroshige's "Rain at
Shono Pass" from the first Tokaido series, which I acquired
from a service man who had returned to Kansas City from post war
Japan to study art. During that summer after graduation my fiancee
and I married, and I prepared for graduate school.
I began graduate studies
in studio art and history of Asian art at the University of Indiana
in 1958, where I studied printmaking under Rudy Pozzatti and Asian
art history with Theodore Bowie. I graduated with an M.F.A. degree
In the summer of 1959, Mary
Ann and I were invited to begin cataloging the vast Japanese print
collection and objects of Chinese art assembled by the late Raymond
Bidwell, at the Springfield Museum of Art in Springfield Massachusetts.
Together with our friend and language scholar Hideo Sekiguchi, we
spent two summers studying that collection and compiling a card
catalog of the entire holdings. This effort culminated in a catalog
of the Raymond A. Bidwell Collection of Chinese Bronzes and Ceramics
in 1965, and the Raymond A. Bidwell Collection of Prints by Utagawa
Kuniyoshi in 1968.
Society of Japan
Ukiyo-e Society of America
for Japanese Art
International Fine Print
The summer I finished graduate
school, I took a teaching position at Memphis State University in
Tennessee as Associate Professor of Art and taught printmaking,
drawing and Asian Art history for eight years. During this time
we continued collecting Japanese prints and drawings. Throughout
those years we were very fortunate to acquire a significant group
of prints from a private collection which included, among other
things, two Eisho okubi-e with mica grounds, a few Hokusai Views
of Fuji and three Kuniyoshi tanzaku of fishes. The Japanese Ukiyo-e
scholar Kiyoshi Shibui confided to my friend Charles Mitchell in
Tokyo that this was the best small collection of prints he had seen
in twenty-five years. This experience overcame our concern that
we would ever be able to acquire great designs on a limited budget!
Moving with our family to New York state in 1968, I continued to
teach at the college level until 1972. I was able to completely
retire from teaching two years after we opened the East West Gallery
in the village of Victor. This began a full time career as dealers
in Fine Asian Art, with a specialty in Japanese prints, paintings,
drawings and illustrated books. We developed an international clientele
including several museums in the U.S. and Asia, as well as university
and private collections. We have acted as consultants to museums
and private collectors at auction in this country, Europe and Japan,
and continue in that capacity today. In addition to our consulting
activities we have been members of the American Appraisers Association
in New York City for many years and have been instrumental in evaluating
many public and private collections.
Over the years we produced
catalogs for exhibitions of Japanese prints and
drawings for college museums and professional galleries. Most notable
was a memorial exhibition of the work of Utagawa Kuniyoshi on the
100th anniversary of his death in 1861, at Brooks Memorial Art Gallery
in Memphis Tennessee in 1961. Prints and drawings came from the
Springfield Museum, the Cleveland Museum, a private collection of
original drawings, and our own private collection. This was the
only Kuniyoshi centennial exhibition held in America, although similar
exhibitions were held in Europe and Japan that same year.
In 1969 an elaborate boxed
catalog was produced by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun in limited edition
for a major exhibition in Tokyo entitled Ukiyo-e Masterpieces
(from Japanese and foreign collections). We were pleased to contribute
to that showing. In that same year a catalog was produced for a
show of our print collection at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester,
In 1973 I provided an article
titled Toyokuni I: Last Master of the Grand Style for Print
Review 2, a publication of Pratt Graphics Center in New York City.
In conjunction with the
International Cultural Exchange Center in Tokyo we had a sale exhibition
of 150 prints at Matsuzakaya Department Store on the Ginza in Tokyo,
in September 1974. We were informed that this was the first time
such a collection was made available to the general public.
In October 1976 we provided
451 prints and drawings for another major offering in Japan, this
time at Tobu Department Store in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. This was accompanied
with a bound catalog in Japanese.
In 1977 and 1978 we had
two sale exhibitions at the galleries of Weisbrod & Dy Ltd.
on Madison Avenue in New York City. The first was a Hiroshige exhibition
and the second, a Shunga (erotic prints) exhibition featuring masterpieces
from Harunobu to Eisen. Also in 1978, we collaborated with Kennedy
Galleries in New York City to offer 120 prints from our stock for
a major sale exhibition in their show rooms. An elaborate catalog
was produced for this show entitled Master Prints 5. In that
same year, the International Cultural Exchange Center in Tokyo arranged
a Kuniyoshi exhibition that was held at the Riccar Museum. That
exhibition was comprised of prints from the Bidwell collection and
supplemented with prints from our own collection. We provided text
in English for a catalog that was rendered into Japanese for that
showing. Before returning to America, the exhibition stopped in
Honolulu to be shown at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and lastly
was displayed at the Elvehjem Museum, at the University of Wisconsin
Subsequent to that traveling
exhibit, an expanded exhibition of the same basic material was planned
for the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York in 1980. The
catalog we produced was supplemented with our own research on Kuniyoshi's
publishers, his signature styles (that changed over his lifetime)
and a selection of studio seals that appeared with his signatures.
This material, based on B.W. Robinson's earlier research, was not
included in the Riccar catalog.
Over the years I have given
lectures on Japanese and Chinese art to museum audiences in upstate
New York. I also organized numerous exhibitions of Japanese prints
belonging to our clients for the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester.
The majority of prints in each case were from local collections.
These shows proved to be valuable undertakings as they allowed clients
to understand that their passion for collecting was appreciated
by a wider audience. Coinciding with this we continued to exhibit
a variety of shows annually at our home gallery in Victor.
After 32 years of business,
the East West Gallery has closed its doors to the public. We have
a new show room and office space at the same location, where we
plan to see clients and visitors by appointment. We
invite all our regular clients as well as new acquaintances to view
our offerings on a regular basis. We intend to feature on-line exhibitions
on a changing schedule and new acquisitions as they become available,
as well as a selection of out of print reference material.
We are available
for consultations and appraisals.