A baker’s dozen of last-number masterpieces by Toko Shinoda
Due to our long established work and continuing development, The Tolman Collection is famous and noted for all sorts of things - most of them good things; for example, we are famous for having the best contemporary Japanese prints in the best condition, which is always an important basic item with prints. Another example for which we are well-known is that there are quite a few clients who think that our staff must be Japanese who are only part Japanese and that is the reason that their English is so good. Well, as the person responsible for both of these matters I am here to tell you that the first reason is true…you simply cannot find the range of prints like ours any place else but here. And pushing on, I want those who have visited our gallery to stop and remember that when you visited our gallery you surely noticed that not a single sentence was spoken that was not in correct English. This is because I wanted to be an English teacher and have devoted what I learned then to making a wonderful English-speaking gallery. Our staff is living proof that Japanese can speak good English….if they have the right teacher.
I have spent the same amount of energy selecting prints to show in Shiba Daimon. In fact, the 13 prints that will be showing at the end of this note are all works by Toko Shinoda made especially for me. Every Shinoda that we have for sale is a work acquired directly from the artist, from the very beginning my specific goal was to buy up full editions of superior works made by Toko-san since 1977 which struck me. This special lady is now 107 years old (!) and has not made any prints since 2007 so there is a dearth of her works around, shrinking every day. In addition to the more than 300 full editions of Toko’s lithographs from 1972 until 2007, our gallery has also placed more than 1000 of her original paintings in private and public collections all around the world.
The 13 works are all collectors’ items made during the 1990 - 2006 period. These pieces have been especially custom-framed by our artisan Japanese framer using real silver and gold leaf and one set is framed as a pair in a free-standing frame. Everyone knows that no one can frame pieces like the Japanese can. These unequaled pieces are each last-number last-copy works.
For those wishing to clear up their Christmas shopping needs here is your big chance. I would like to state right here that all the titles of Shinoda pieces which seem to “have been decided by a poet” were in fact not done by Shinoda-san, but by yours truly, Norman H. Tolman. Most of them were picked in response to what Toko-san told me she was feeling when she actually made the image…but, after an original small spat…I won and the title-choosing privilege was left to me.
If you read the list of titles slowly you will soon realize that they are titles that were picked mostly for identification of the work of art. Sometimes with works like “Golden Rule” or “Fantasy” or even "Feelings” you may not appreciate the amount of time I took to finalize them. However since these 13 works are all final copies, I guess that I did the right thing. I hope you will do the right thing for yourself and pick something that you really like.
All the best wishes from NHT and the best English-speaking guys in the art business in Tokyo.