Antique Japanese Raku ware chawan (tea bowl) with crackle glaze and finely applied kintsugi. Red glaze with dark greenish-black spots. Seal impression on the bottom. Kyoto. Evaluation done in the 1930’s by TZ Shiota when the family was inheriting the collection from their great grandfather, Federic Torrey. The collection was stored in a trunk since his death in 1935.
Age: 17th century
Dimensions: 3 3/4″ high x 4 3/4″ wide
Provenance: From the personal collection of Frederic Cheever Torrey (1864-1935),
partner of Vickery, Atkins & Torrey, interior design firm and art gallery founded in San Francisco in 1888.
The gallery, most famous for its role in helping to introduce California to Impressionism, also offered fine works of Asian porcelain and Japanese woodblock prints. The location moved from several places in San Francisco and settled at 236 Post Street (now called Maiden Lane) when the 1906 earthquake hit. Though the resulting fire destroyed the gallery, Henry Atkins and gallery employees were able to rescue 3 wagon loads of art.
In time, the partners opened a sweeping multi-leveled gallery in their permanent location at 550 Sutter Street.
Frederic Torrey was the expert collector behind the gallery’s opulent array of Asian art in addition to oil paintings , prints and photographs. His home on Canyon Rd in Berkeley is now simply called Torrey House and was the location of his personal collection which included, most famously, Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase”.
The inheriting family had the Chawan Collection evaluated in 1930’s by TZ Shiota, a prominent SF Tea Ceremony Dealer.