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Collectors Snap Up Miyashita Ceramics at First U.S. Solo Show

In April, dealer Joan Mirviss, who specializes in contemporary Japanese art, hosted the first solo exhibition outside Japan of works by ceramic artist Miyashita Zenji (b. 1939), and brought the artist’s sculptural works to the SOFA (Sculpture Objects and Functional Art) fair in New York.

NEW YORK—In April, dealer Joan Mirviss, who specializes in contemporary Japanese art, hosted the first solo exhibition outside Japan of works by ceramic artist Miyashita Zenji (b. 1939), and brought the artist’s sculptural works to the SOFA (Sculpture Objects and Functional Art) fair in New York. Of the 29 works on view in the two shows, priced from $4,500 to $16,000, 26 were sold, to private U.S. buyers, Mirviss told ARTnewsletter. Miyashita’s work consists of stoneware vessels to which he applies thin bands of colored clay, creating the effect of rolling hills, clouds or waves.

Mirviss represented the artist for 25 years as a private dealer before opening her New York gallery two years ago. During that time, the artist’s work has been acquired by a number of museums, including the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; the British Museum; the Brooklyn Museum; the Metro­politan Museum of Art, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Ceramic Museum, Sèvre, France.

In the time that she has represented him, prices for Miyashita’s work have doubled, Mirviss said. She told ARTnewsletter there is “no secondary market at a high level” for his ceramics. However, at least four works have come to auction, two of which sold. The highest auction price is $6,875, paid for a set of four stoneware vessels at Christie’s sale of Japanese and Korean art in New York last March (estimate: $5,000/7,000).

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