Fine Arts of Asia
Floating World Ukioy-e


About Us

Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858)
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 year.

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 1960.

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.


Professional Memberships

Ukiyo-e Society of Japan

Ukiyo-e Society of America
New York

Appraisers Association
of America
New York

Society for Japanese Art
The Netherlands

International Fine Print
Dealers Association
New York


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, New York.

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 in Madison.

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.

Related Links

Guide to Ukiyo-e

Hotei Publishing





phone: 585-924-5830 • fax: 585-924-5838 • email:

website design by meredithwells

© Merlin C. Dailey 2003