SOLD! Buying Asian Art at American Auctions


The American business of Yamanaka and Company, Inc., is now under the supervision and control of the Alien Property Custodian of the United States of America by virtue of the vesting by the Custodian of 100% of the capital stock of the three American stores of Yamanaka & Company, Inc., located in New York, Boston and Chicago.

During World War II, Japanese art dealer Sadajiro Yamanaka had his business seized by the U.S. government along with his stock of thousands of pieces of art. The subsequent liquidation of his stock produced some of the most significant pieces in the Hermitage Museum and Gardens collection. SOLD! examines the history of Yamanaka’s business in the United States and abroad, highlights the war period purchases made by the Hermitage, and examines how these years became prolific acquisition periods for institutions across the country. Visitors will have the opportunity to examine auction catalogs, sales receipts, personal letters, and objects from the Hermitage, which highlight war period sales and the differences between buying during times of peace and war.

SOLD! will specifically highlight the Hermitage's Asian acquisitions from 1943 and 1944.  A Chinese Zhou dynasty tomb and a New York City auction house from the early 1940s will be recreated in the galleries. In each room visitors will find historical artifacts and information as well as interactive elements that provide an understanding of both what it was like to work on an archaeological dig in the early 20th century and the exhilaration that comes along with purchasing art in an auction setting.

Open June 3 - September 4, 2016
Opening Party details here

Exhibition Support From:
The Hermitage Board of Trustees and Weinstein Properties