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Author Yamamori, Yumiko
Title A.A. Vantine and Company: Japanese Handcrafts for the American Consumer, 1895--1920
book jacket
Descript 356 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 72-01, Section: A, page: 0006
Adviser: Kenneth L. Ames
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture, 2011
A.A. Vantine & Company was a well-established Asian art store based in New York. The firm flourished for sixty-five years, adeptly reacting to rapid socioeconomic and cultural changes. After Vantine opened three Japanese offices in the early 1890s to become an influential gaish o (Western trading house), the firm actively distributed Japanese crafts to middle-class Americans through retail, wholesale, and mail-order operations. Yet, outside the field of collectibles, today Vantine has been either overlooked or is only vaguely remembered
Using Vantine as a case study and focusing on trade, advertising, and politics, this dissertation explores the ways in which merchants disseminated a popular taste for Japanese handcrafts in the United States from around 1895 to 1920. I place Vantine in context with two Japanese firms that were highly successful in the American market, establishing their base in Manhattan, at locations not far from Vantine's store. One was Yamanaka and Company, a prominent Asian antiques dealer for the high-end market, and the other was Morimura Brothers, a leading porcelain producer and wholesaler of Japanese crafts
Due to the lack of surviving business records, Vantine's activities are reconstructed in the dissertation through the examination of various documents located in Japan and the United States. Japanese sources include foreign trade statistics, consular reports, and publications on porcelain manufacture in the Nagoya area. American sources include Vantine's catalogues and advertisements as well as articles in mass-circulation journals, newspapers, and trade magazines that mentioned the firm and related matters
By describing the business of Yamanaka side-by-side with Vantine's, my study illustrates the breadth of Japanese arts and designs available to Americans in the early twentieth century. The analysis of merchants' marketing materials elucidates the changing image of Japan in popular culture, focusing on the years between 1914 and 1920. Furthermore, through the examination of Vantine's activities in Japan and its competition with Morimura, the significance of the gaisho---neglected purveyors of Japanese crafts---is reaffirmed. Ultimately, the findings of the research demonstrate that the taste for Japanese handcrafts in the United States had a much longer and more complex history than previously acknowledged
School code: 0279
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 72-01A
Subject American Studies
History, Asia, Australia and Oceania
Business Administration, Marketing
Art History
Alt Author The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture
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