NETSUKE Collection of W.G. BOSSHARD (Barry Davies Oriental Art) 1399772368 RARE

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The Netsuke Collection of W.G. Bosshard Part I An Exhibition of Important Netsuke
Barry Davies Oriental Art
Illustrated Hardback First Edition1994)
Interest: Books, Antiques, Oriental Antiques, Japanese Antiques, Netsuke, Lacquer, Inro, Sagemono, 
An Exhibition of Important Netsuke. London, 1994. 117 objects sumptuously catalogued and illustrated in full colour of choice netsuke from an early post-war collection formed by W.G. Bosshard in Japan. 
Book Details: 
Hardback: Unpaginated (244 pages) Publisher: Barry Davies Oriental Art Ltd; First Edition (1994) Language: Bilingual - English / Japanese ISBN 10: 1399772368 ISBN-13 : 9781399772365 Illustrated with colour plates 
Very Good - DJ shows some signs of shelf-wear/storage. Of special interest, this copy, I believe, was the original exhibition copy as it has small stickers to show which items were placed into the exhibit together with markings to show the return of the Netsuke to W.B.  
Additional information:
As with all Barry Davies books, this book doesn't fail in providing breath-taking images and in-depth descriptions. 
No Netsuke collector, enthusiast or dealer should be without this book. It should prove to be one of the most invaluable references you could own and will be of significant interest to museums, curators, collectors, dealers and historians. 
This book lavishly illustrates and provides full details including signatures of 117 Netsuke of the utmost highest quality. 
Each Netsuke exhibited includes full description, size, signature, which school it was made by and date made. 
Many of the pieces exhibited are quite superb and some are true masterpieces. 
Works Exhibited by Netsuke Artists : 
Kikugawa Ryukoku
Masanao (Kyoto)
Masanao (Yamada)
Netsuke. Even after all these years the name still conjures up for me images of an aged craftsman lovingly working a piece of wood into a little treasure.
I have been collecting these little treasures for 30 years. The first one I purchased in Kyoto in 1965. A small, dimly lit shop with no counter, just a few shelves of antiques and a couple of stools to sit on and negotiate. The netsuke felt good to touch. A Junishi (Japanese zodiac) signed by the mastercarver Masatsugu, but, the dealer said, perhaps a 20th century copy. Still it was beautiful. And the price was reasonable. So I bought my first netsuke. 
Over the next couple of years during my search for more of these beautiful little carvings I noticed first one then another virtually identical to my first purchase. But these were signed by different masters. Eventually I found the source, an 82 year old craftsman delicately carving on instructions from dealers! 'Craftsman have to eat, and the dealers insist on names they can sell', he told me. 'Please recarve the signature of the artist who carved this beautiful piece', I requested, and he put his own name to the netsuke I started my collection with. I still have it. It is now signed Meigyokusai on a red lacquer tablet. 
Like any work of art that becomes valuable and collectable, netsuke attract copiers. But if the work is beautiful, it has a value in its own right. Art is always art, even if it is newly created. Over the years and through study I came to recognise how to distinguish the works of the old masters, and of the new. I collected both with equal enthusiasm, loving them for their quality, style and humour. I hope that the illustrations of my collection will help you distinguish those pieces that you particularly like, and that the descriptions, and biographies of the artists will help you determine the shape of your collection. -- William G Bosshard - Tokyo, June 1994. 
It is with great pleasure and privilege that I am writing to introduce an exhibition of the first part of the netsuke collection of Mr W.G. (Willi) Bosshard. Willi is one of the last great early post-war netsuke collectors, and I feel a sense of great achievement that I have been able to prize from him these beloved pieces. How it was managed would reveal far too much! However, it did happily coincide with the announcement just recently that Willi was to retire from his position as Senior Managing Director of Nestlé in Japan, and leave that country, his home for 27 years, to live in Switzerland, the country where he was born, where he is now pursuing other interests.
Willi Bosshard was born on July 20 1936 in Ruti, a small town near Zurich, into a family traditionally involved in collecting works of art. His education, business acumen and command of languages inevitably drew him to a major multi-national company, and he joined Nestlé SA, the worlds largest food company, in 1958. Willi's career took him to many different parts of the world including the Far East, and it was in Japan in 1965 that he saw and purchased his first netsuke. This was a truly momentous year for Willi, since it was also when he met his wife, Ursula (Uschi). In January 1967 Willi was sent by Nestlé to Japan to set up a special food services division, and lived there, first in Kobe, and then Tokyo, until this year. He married Uschi in 1968, and they have one son, Nicholas, who started his own netsuke collection, under Willi's guidance, at the age of 9! 
I first met Willi in Kobe in 1979, and marvelled at his collection. Many of his best pieces had been acquired through his contacts in Japan, surprisingly an unusual source for western collectors in those days. Happily, I discovered that I had things other than netsuke in common with Willi during my visit. Willi is a renowned bon vivant, gourmet and wine connoisseur. I became better acquainted with him in 1986 when my wife Christine and I attended a memorable event — his 50th Birthday, the celebrated 'Fifty Years Of Willi Bosshard'. Willi organised an extraordinary party. He invited over 100 guests to Zurich, then travelled on the Orient Express, touring the Swiss countryside for 12 hours, with Anton Moshimann preparing a ten-course dinner. The revelry continued at a jazz party in the Great Hall of Schloss Laufen, a castle overlooking a the Rhine Falls: We then returned by torch-lit procession to the train for coffee and croissants at 5 a.m.! Willi was the perfect host, charming, fun, vibrant and mischievous. His outward jocularity belied the serious work put into the organisation of this event, and the tremendous attention to detail involved. I observed in him the same attitude that he applied to his collecting. Willi loves the fun of acquiring netsuke; he enjoys stories of their discovery, and delights in the intrigue surrounding the relationship between dealers and collectors. However, beneath lies a serious connoisseur, with great academic knowledge and appreciation of quality, as is apparent from his collection. He is a great character, and as eccentric as most other good collectors. As far as I am aware, he is the only collector who demanded to know the weight of a netsuke when offered it for sale! Again, this apparently flippant request hid a serious motive. The weight of a netsuke is the perfect indication of its mass, and therefore size. This was especially important to Willi as his taste developed towards the earlier, bolder, and larger pieces. He was also very serious, as ever, about accuracy. On one occasion I sent him an Kyoto rat, having previously informed him of the weight. When Willi received it he called me, to enquire by which airline I had sent it. I told him. Willi, ever the gourmet, then informed me that he would never fly with that particular airline again. Intrigued, I enquired why, to be told that the cuisine had to be awful — the rat had lost 0.2 grams during the journey! A reprimand delivered with his usual panache. I have arranged the order of the collection in the catalogue to commence with Zodiac animals. It was appropriate to start with rats, since not only is it the first animal of the Zodiac cycle, Willi was born in the Year of the Rat, and his penchant for netsuke of this subject is legendary. Also, in deference to the great friendships, through netsuke or otherwise, that Willi formed during the happy years he lived in his country of adoption, I have translated the text fully into Japanese, the first time — as far as I know — that this has been done for an exhibition catalogue. 
My usual thanks to my superb team in assisting me in the preparation of this catalogue: my wife, Christine; Valerie Newman, Malcolm Fairley; Richard Barker; Tsumugi Shoji; Colin Murray; Catherine Murray; Reneé Yeater and Dianne O'Bryan. Finally, special thanks to Willi and Uschi Bosshard for giving me this prized opportunity of cataloguing the first part of their collection. Collectors and dealers everywhere will, I am sure, join me in wishing them both a happy and fulfilled retirement --Barry Davies.    
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