Katherine Martin Katherine Martin

Katherine Martin has been the Director of Scholten Japanese Art in New York since 1999. Prior to consulting privately, Martin was a specialist in the Japanese Department at Sotheby's New York.

Where did your passion for Japanese art begin, and how has it ultimately evolved?

Katherine Martin: My first real introduction to Japanese art began in an Asian Paintings survey class at college. I still remember sitting in the dark classroom and seeing a selection of slides of Japanese woodblock prints on the screen. The most striking was an image by Utagawa Hiroshige from his series 100 Famous Views of Edo depicting a falcon (or eagle) descending dramatically over a vast plain.

What do you think distinguishes Scholten art from other Japanese dealers in New York?

KM: We are a small private gallery, although we advertise in a few places, most people are already pretty serious about wanted to learn about Japanese art and Japanese prints in particular before they find us. We only see one client at a time because we spend time with our visitors. If you are a new collector it's our responsibility to teach you about the field and help you figure out what you want to collect. If you have been collecting a long time we want to share information, learn about your interests in order to help you build a collection.

What is your favorite work on view, and why?

KM: Right now we have an exhibition on view called "Dark & Stormy: Evocative Images for Uncertain Times"- which is a selection of mostly prints (and a few paintings) depicting nocturnes, inclement weather, or both. Picking a favorite is not easy- the best works are often night views, rain and snow...but one of the boldest compositions is by Utagawa Toyokuni II depicting "Night Rain at Oyama" from his series "Eight Celebrated Views" dating to the 1830's. It's a surprisingly modern and graphic view of a strong storm on the mounting, the rain is rendered in wide distorting bands of blue and grey cutting across the mountain. The fury of the storm envelopes the mountain in sheets of rain while a temple in the foreground is dwarfed by the looming mountain and the darkened sky. But in spite of the tempest, if you look closely you can see undaunted pilgrims climbing the steep stairs which ascend the mountain to an ancient sacred site near the summit with a temple fittingly devoted to the Shinto god of rain.

How does Scholten Art hope to increase visibility of Japanese art in the current market, if at all? Conversely, do you enjoy a more specialized network of collectors and professionals?

KM: We're going to try the upcoming International Fine Print Fair this November here in New York. We're hoping to meet collectors from out-of-town that come to New York for the fair.

See more Japanese Art on Barnebys here.