• NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • March 24, 2011

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A work by Yagi Kazuo (1918-79) at Joan B. Mirviss Ltd.
Joan B. Mirviss Ltd.

Since its opening on March 16 for Asia Week New York 2011, “Birds of Dawn: Pioneers of Japan’s Sôdeisha Ceramic Movement,” the exhibition currently on view at Joan B. Mirviss Ltd. at 39 East 78th Street, has been attracting tremendous attention from collectors, curators, the media and the public-at-large.  The show focuses on the three seminal founders of the extremely influential Sôdeisha ceramic movement: Yagi Kazuo (1918-79), Suzuki Osamu (1926-2001), and Yamada Hikaru (1923-2001). They drew their name, Sôdeisha, literally, “Crawling Through Mud Association,” from a Chinese ceramic glazing term, to express their complete absorption with their medium and its inherent limitations.

“This is far-and-away the most successful exhibition of my 35-year career,” said Joan Mirviss, who worked more than ten years to bring all the elements together.  “Both the show itself and its accompanying book have reaped great praise as 'ground-breaking,' 'unprecedented,' 'eye-opening,' and even 'prescient,' given the parallels to war-ravaged Japan from which this movement emerged and today's catastrophic environment in northeastern Japan.”

“Thus far, twenty-nine ceramic works from the fifty-four available have been sold with several headed to important art museums,” Mirviss reported.  “In addition, we have sold two major paintings by nineteenth-century painters, Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858) and Kawanabe Kyôsai (1831-1889) that we selected to complement the exhibition.”

Two of the most outstanding works sold from "Birds of Dawn" are by Yagi Kazuo, the group's leader:

“Direction of the Wind (Unglazed Clay Pipes),” 1955, unglazed shigaraki white clay, was sold to a private collector for more than $100,000.

The second exceptionally rare piece is being acquired by a major art museum in the northeast.  It is a smoke-blackened sculpture of an orb with a bisecting square insertion, 1978.

The exhibition's fully-illustrated book includes essays by recognized scholars including Joe Earle, Vice President and Director of the Gallery at Japan Society; Rupert Faulkner, Senior Curator of the Asian Department of the Victoria & Albert Museum; and Glenn Adamson, Head of Graduate Studies and Deputy Head of Research at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

"Birds of Dawn" runs through April 29, 2011.  For more information, phone

212-799-4021 or visit

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