NEW YORK, NY.- The Fricks Center for the History of Collecting in America
announces that Julia Meech has been named the first winner of its Sothebys Book Prize for her critically acclaimed monograph Frank Lloyd Wright and the Art of Japan: The Architects Other Passion (Harry N. Abrams). Comments Frick Director Anne Poulet, The goal of the Center is to stimulate awareness and study of art collecting in this country, to foster research, and to encourage scholarly discourse. The newly created prize (formally known as the Sothebys Prize for a Distinguished Publication on the History of Collecting in America) is a critical element toward these efforts. It also represents the summation of a wide range of activities undertaken in a very short time by the Center, which was established only two years ago at the Frick Art Reference Library. Indeed, the Centers fellowships and research tools avail scholars of the time, funds, and information needed to prepare a publication in this growing field; its academic programs ensure that the history of art collecting is accepted and encouraged as an essential part of university art history curricula. Furthermore, its symposia stimulate explorations of uncharted areas of collecting history. We offer our gratitude to Sothebys, which has agreed to fund the biennial prize for a period of six years, and we extend our sincere congratulations to author Julia Meech for her wonderfully researched publication. I look forward to presenting the award to her formally at a reception hosted at The Frick Collection on December 16.
Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright was an avid and important collector and dealer of Asian art. His personal collection included thousands of Japanese color woodblock prints, and it was his discerning eye that helped build the foremost private holdings in the United States, which in turn became the cornerstones of the collections at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Meechs book, which accompanied a 2001 exhibition at the Japan Society Gallery in New York, examines Wrights passion for Japanese art and illuminates the profound impact it had on his personal and professional life. Comments Inge Reist, Director of the Center for the History of Collecting in America, This beautiful publication presents a comparatively little known aspect of Frank Lloyd Wright as it deftly positions his dealing and collecting activities in the context of the larger art market in the U.S. and abroad. Ultimately, Meechs study not only offers a deeply researched view of one mans collecting, but also explores to the limit the reasons why the cultural climate of the times made Wright so susceptible to the lure of Japan. This publication was met immediately with acclaim and has proven to be an authoritative source on its subject, so we are thrilled that its author is the first recipient of the biennial Sothebys Book Prize.
Julia Meech is an independent scholar living in New York City. She is Curator of the John C. Weber Collection, editor of the journal Impressions for the Japanese Art Society of America, and Consultant to the Department of Japanese Art at Christies New York. She holds a Ph.D. in art history from Harvard University. Her publications include Twelve Japanese Screens (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979), The World of the Meiji Print (Weatherhill, 1986), and Rain and Snow (Japan Society, 1993). She co-curated and co-edited Designed for Pleasure (Asia Society and Japanese Art Society of America, 2008). Her research on Frank Lloyd Wrights collection of Japanese art began in the 1970s when she was Associate Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Nominations for the 2009 Sothebys Book Prize were requested from a range of art world specialists, with the goal in mind of recognizing works of scholarly excellence that contribute to this field of research. Volumes were eligible if published in the last ten years and focused on collecting in any category of the fine and decorative arts, Western or non-Western, from Colonial times to the present. Judging criteria included originality of research, contributions to the study of the history of art and culture, and whether the book sets the activity of art collecting within a broader cultural, social, economic, or political context.