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Bonhams appoint Joe Earle as a Senior Consultant for the Japanese Art Department in Europe and USA
Joe Earle has worked for nearly 40 years in the field of Asian and Japanese arts and cultures. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Bonhams announced the appointment of the distinguished Asian Art specialist Joe Earle, as a Senior Consultant for its Japanese Art Department who starts his new brief on October 1 in London.

Joe Earle has worked for nearly 40 years in the field of Asian and Japanese arts and cultures and has occupied senior curatorial positions at top museums in both the United Kingdom and the United States. A graduate of Oxford University, he joined London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V & A) in 1974 and in 1983 was appointed Keeper of the Far Eastern Department, the youngest person ever to hold such a post in a U.K. national museum. As Keeper, he led a project to establish a major permanent Japanese gallery at the V&A, the Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art, which opened in December 1986.

Joe Earle also has long experience of the commercial art world, having worked as a freelance consultant from 1990 through 2003, carrying out Japanese art cataloguing and exhibition projects for prominent collectors and dealers throughout the world.

From 2003 until 2012 he was resident in the United States, serving first as Chair of the Department of Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston and most recently as Vice-President of Japan Society (New York) and Director of Japan Society Gallery. Under his leadership, the MFA’s legendary collection of 50,000 Japanese woodblock prints was digitized and made available online, and the museum started work on the major exhibition of its Japanese masterpieces which is currently touring Japan.

At Japan Society, Joe Earle has organized a dozen exhibitions ranging from Zen painting, woodblock prints, and the art of Shibata Zeshin to contemporary ceramics and bamboo, manga, anime, Japanese Deco, and contemporary art. His last exhibition, which opened in New York two days ago, is Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761– 1828.). He has authored, translated, edited, or contributed to more than 20 major publications on Japanese art.

Joe Earle comments: “I am tremendously excited to have been given the opportunity to take on this role at a time of unprecedented worldwide interest in Japanese art. I look forward to working with my colleagues to strengthen Bonhams market share, develop new areas of collecting interest, and introduce new clients to the potential of a uniquely rich and varied artistic tradition extending from prehistoric times to the present day and beyond.”

Colin Sheaf, Chairman of Bonhams Asia, says: “Joe has a 'flying' role as a senior business getter in the US and Europe. His addition to the team will doubtless boost our strength thanks to his unrivalled expertise and his network of contacts among both academics and collectors the world over. We are truly delighted to have secured the appointment of such a distinguished colleague in the field of Asian art.”

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