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Wako Shuji has been an exclusive artist of The Tolman Collection since 1984. ?During these long years he has brought forth 113 lithographs under the banner of “Traditional Japan through my modern eyes.” ?His production has been limited, but each of the perfect lithographs with his signature on it is breathtaking. Wako’s work graces many collections around the world. Since his work ?is perfectly printed and carefully thought through it is inspirational to everyone. Other artists who make lithographs only dream that their work could be printed as painstakingly as his.

Wako is the student of Hara Takeshi under whose careful tutelage he learned the ins and outs of lithography so well, that Mr. Hara, known as the chief teacher of this impossibly difficult technique, actually engaged the young Wako, those many years ago, to print Hara prints for sale. ?Wako’s reputation as a lithographic printer is unchallenged in the world. Those looking for perfect prints have found him to be their hero.

On Saturday, September 23, from 3 - 7, at our gallery in Shiba Daimon, we are happy to present an exhibition, unlike any other we have ever done in our gallery’s long history - an exhibit featuring each of Wako’s pieces. At the same time I am proud to announce the publication of - “Things Are Seldom What They Seem,” which illustrates, in full color, each of his masterpieces and tells of the Tolman Collection - Wako saga and details of the artists life. ?Due to prudent care giving over these long 33 years, we have been careful and determined to save copies of each of his works. The exhibition will last until Sunday, October 8.?

Art lovers who have yearned for bygone Wako pieces should make sure to visit our gallery during this time while the gallery will be festooned with Wako’s pieces both framed and unframed, all available for purchase.

*** Please note the gallery will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, July 12 and 13, 2017. ***

*** 臨時休業のお知らせ 7月12日、水曜と7月13日、木曜はお休みさせていただきます。 ***



A Message and Announcement for all the Clients of The Tolman Collection

We never know how people plan their schedules, but ours keeps on changing right before our very eyes - every day; But, flexibility seems to be the name of the game. At first, we thought that we would have a leisurely Karhu show in December but this idea had to be quickly adjusted due to a sudden request from the Conrad Hotel for another Shinoda show there from Dec 2 - 11. Well why not?

Originally I planned for Kiyo and me to leave early for our year-end-year-start vacation in Honolulu. we were to go first and see to the various local arrangements for our leisurely stay for everyone, in Hawaii. We've scheduled for the gallery staff, my family from New York, and other dear friends from all around the world to arrive in turn for their days with us in Kailua, and then leave as their other plans call for it. But, a Shinoda show cast a different shadow on our carefully planned event. I mean how much trouble could it be?

Oh, that is how it looked at first, but hold on. We really do believe in flexibility, and suddenly there was the reality of another unexpected Shinoda - Karhu show in Honolulu at Robyn Buntin’s wonderful gallery to please our Hawaiian clientele. Who could imagine all that? Welcome to the Tolman Collection and its “The difficult we do every day, the impossible takes a bit longer” attitude.

For many of the “How do you possibly do it?” crowd I can provide the answer immediately; It is called Eiji, Daisuke, Shin, Nori and Kiyo. Each one of my capable staff is able to carry on as if he alone is “The Tolman Collection.” Here is how it goes - and without forfeiting our early bought, paid for; and un-negotiable tickets, the Karhu/Ryohei show is on now!

At our website, see what you like, and while keeping in mind that Mr. Karhu passed in 2007 and that what we are offering are special last pieces from his own estate, please also remember that after a lifetime of printing those fabulous views of "The Japan that may not always be here" that Ryohei has stopped printing and what we are showing is what is available. The selling prices are evidence of such limited works. Do not forget in the confusion of all this that this is also the time to order your Karhu calendars; anyone who has ever forgotten and comes around in January looking for one, and is told that they are all sold out will tell you that it happens only once.

Our Shinoda exhibition at the Conrad will indeed open on December 2nd and run until December 11th but it won’t be possible for Kiyo and me to help take that show down. We will have left on the 7th for Hawaii as we had originally planned; that show will be in the hands of Eiji, Daisuke, Nori and Shin who will be dividing their time between our Karhu/Ryohei show at our gallery and the Conrad exhibition for Toko. After that show is dismantled, Nori and Daisuke will leave for Hawaii. Eiji and Shin, writing his thesis for his MBA, will close our gallery on the originally planned December 20th date.

In the meantime our Hawaiian group will have finished our Shinoda/Karhu show there and start putting up the Christmas decorations for our other guests who will arrive from Tokyo, Portland, New York, Melbourne and Singapore.

This is wishing you A Merry Christmas, and A Happy New Year to all of you. ?See you back in Tokyo on Wednesday, January 11.


A small film about Toko
pdf file

Dear clients of The Tolman Collection,

We have been re-organizing our Shiba Daimon gallery to accommodate the works of our Imari gallery, various stocks of art not usually shown, we also had to find places to show the various resources of our gallery in Hong Kong which has now been closed. This required lots of moving and shifting of framed and unframed prints. During this busy time, three very large and very, very heavy Shinoda paintings fell on me, breaking several ribs. But being a tough old guy that I am, I have reverted to my spunky self after only two weeks.

Now, the gallery is getting to look great and since it is almost finished we will hold an open house weekend and invite you all to come and see it and will stage an exhibition of prints & original works of Kuroda Shigeki.

Sometimes known as "the bicycle and umbrella artist.” Kuroda Shigeki (b. 1952) has worked his theme of those objects for 40 years and is represented in so many collections. In our world, helping clients build their collections we have noticed that at certain times there are artists whom everyone feels must also be included in a collection no matter what they concentrate on. It is felt that if they don’t have a Kuroda print, then there is something missing.

Fortunately for everyone, Kuroda’s carefully crafted pieces are among the most inexpensive that we offer. Perhaps that is part of the reason that no matter what artists works people collect, they also ask to see our range of "bicycles and umbrellas" so that they can fit one of them into their collections, too. Because of the reasonable prices of the extremely jolly and appealing works that Kuroda-san releases. Those who are looking for suitable pieces to bestow on their friends and relatives when they go on home leave, like Kuroda

In the course of the above-mentioned rib-splitting gallery re-organization we “came upon” all sorts of “I wonder where those Kuroda pieces went” discoveries. We unearthed scores of those little treasures and later in a discussion with the artist decided to feature more than 100 different works in our large exhibition room and encourage people to have a treasure hunt seeking the Kuroda of their dreams. So, in addition to our own carefully kept prints we have asked the artist to bring his new things and you are welcome to add to your knowledge of how the print world works and maybe also take care of your next home leave duties at the same time.

Although I promise not to show my scars from those heavy Shinoda paintings that fell on me, clients might worry that they could hear more about my encounter with the paintings than they wish.

Norman H. Tolman


Hiromitsu - the last of the Kappa-zuri masters

Hiromitsu’s work echoes Japanese tradition from every angle -its subject matter - The Kabuki, (Japan’s Grand Opera) - its special method of expression - Kappa-zuri, (a stencil printing process known and practiced by few,) and even the very paper (Narashima-washi) all of which allow imaginative stories of Japan’s cultural past to be depicted in all its glorious colors which offer a Japan to the world that seems unattainable to others.

Each of the limited edition prints, the delight of collectors, which are hand- printed by only the artist himself and not by a workshop of printers who are unable to bring to life what only the artist himself can, elevates even the simplest print to the role of wonderful treasure.

Hiromitsu, 56, is now an internationally recognized artist, well-known to collectors all around the world. But somehow it is different in Japan. Here, by strange rules of strict institutions with out-moded standards, this outstanding talented artist is not allowed to be considered a print artist. I have long wondered into which category he should be assigned for his special work, certainly not as a painter, but as a special kind of printer. ?My memory has been tweaked to remind me of a similar situation involving the great Mori Yoshitoshi (1898 -1992) who suffered the same exclusive policy, making his work seem something other than a Japanese print. ?Mori’s works swept the world without the backing of any art group, with no assistance or help in defining just what it was that he was actually producing.

I hope that the growing attention being given on the international level to this fine artist Hiromitsu, without any assistance from demanding art groups will earn him even further attention by Japanese art lovers who are growing braver and braver learning about these wonderful kappa-zuri works as time goes by.

Eiji Nagao, Senior Adviser, The Tolman Collection

Dear Friends and Clients of The Tolman Collection

For many years our company has been known as the source of the finest Japanese prints made by innovative, creative and unique artists. Most people who collect fine contemporary Japanese prints have learned about them from our gallery and we have been the place to come to get started collecting.

From time to time our artists, such as Toko Shinoda, Imamura Yoshio, and Nakazawa Shin'ichi have also bought forth unique original pieces. Since that has been the case for around 40 years, one supposes that our clients and other people who read our various ads and announcements would be surprised to receive information about an artist who only paints original oil paintings.

Emi Uchida is just such a person. We have been handling her work for the last several years and have sold every piece of hers that comes our way, therefore we have not been required to do so much publicity to promote it. By way of explanation I can tell you that we have sold her pieces at exhibitions in Santa Fe, Brussels, Singapore, Hong Kong and New York. Since she is a painter we seldom have any of her work left from the international shows we have joined.

Recently we have acquired another dozen of her new paintings which we will offer for sale on March 3 which just happens to be Hina Matsuri. Emi is a young and creative person and her works look like no other artist’s. As you will see for yourselves, these are fine pleasing works. ?Please come to meet the artist at our Shiba Daimon gallery on Thursday, March 3, from 5 - 8 and if you can’t make it at that time they will be on exhibit until Sunday, March 13 at regular gallery hours. You are welcome to bring (or send) your friends who are interested in fine new art. The photos of the paintings were sent to us by the artist but they somehow fail to express the full beauty and freshness of the paintings themselves.

Norman H. Tolman

Endo Susumu’s newest prints..a wonderful breath of fresh air with every viewing

In our busy gallery we handle works by some four dozen artists - there are artists from a wide scale of ages from very young - Saito Noriko is 40 - to quite old - Shinoda Toko is 103 - and Emi Uchida isn’t telling her age. The works range broadly in size and shape, mode and style, and are made by various processes and techniques. I think that one can say that it is impossible to visit our gallery and examine what we have for sale without finding something that appeals. Some of the works are very demanding and require deep contemplation, others are playful and quickly bring a smile, but the works that are the most comfortable for everyone to look at repeatedly are probably the lithographs of Endo Susumu whose soft and ?soothing colors create a sense of peace and quiet that is not to be found in the works of our other artists.?

Endo Sensei’s lithographic technique and his amazing color selection command the viewers attention, the editions are pulled in limited numbers of only 75, the printing is perfectly executed, and their price reasonable. ?Anyone who is building a collection should contemplate a composition of Mr. Endo (b. 1933.) His works are widely collected and belong in your collection, too.

We are so excited about having acquired a large amount of Endo’s recent works that we will be showing them in a separate part of our gallery while our February sale goes on. None of his works will be on sale, but all are FOR sale.



Message from Norman Tolman

March marked the publication of our latest portfolio, Hope - Aspiration in the Abstract. This portfolio was undertaken at a time when Japan was attempting to recover from all of the disasters of 2011 and I felt that my artists needed a project based on optimism, and also wanted to provide the perfect item for those clients who yearned to help the artists. The goal of my gallery is always to show the development of contemporary Japanese art at specific moments in time and history. In discussions commissioning the works for the portfolio, I tried to generate inspiration for the artists to transcribe their feelings for hope, in an abstract form, since they are universally renowned for such endeavors.

Based on the premise of hope for the future, the nine prints, to be sold in a set in editions of only 70, showcases both the talent and carefully-honed technical prowess of our eight artists. Those who acquire one will own a special limited-edition document of Japanese art in 2012, as the Japanese people move forward after one of the worst years in Japan’s recent history. The artists participating in this portfolio are all known to you and are - Hasegawa, Nagai, Tsubota, Imamura, Goto, Nakazawa, Tamekane, and Zhou who is a new face.

Please contact us at tc@tolmantokyo.com for more information about our upcoming events, to order your copy of the portfolio shown here, or to inquire about any of the works on our ever-evolving website which may have caught your eye.

We welcome inquiries concerning availability and price.

Nagai Kenji
CL-12 Hope
Tsubota Masahiko
Stroking Dot Gold
Tsubota Masahiko
Dot Stroking Red
Hasegawa Yuichi
Full of Hope
Towards a Sparkling Future
Tamekane Yoshikatsu
Inextinguishable Flame
Nakazawa Shin'ichi
Goto Hidehiko
Silent Light

Imamura Yoshio
Hope Rejuvenation

Zhou Hao


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