Jacqueline Avant, Philanthropist and Noted Collector of Japanese Art, Is Fatally Shot in Her Home

  • December 02, 2021 11:10

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Philanthropist Jacqueline Avant with her husband Clarence Avant, the influential music producer.

Jacqueline Avant, 81, was fatally shot in her Beverly Hills, Calif., home early on Wednesday. A suspect in the home invasion killing was later arrested after he accidentally shot himself in the foot during an alleged burglary attempt in Hollywood Hills, according to police. The injured 29-year-old suspect had an AR-15 rifle.

The beloved wife of legendary music producer Clarence Avant, and mother of two children, Alexander Du Bois Avant and former US Ambassador to the Bahamas Nicole Avant (who is married to Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos), Jacqueline Avant was a former model well-known for her activity in the arts and philanthropy in Southern California. She supported the UCLA International Student Center and was past president of the Neighbors of Watts, a charitable organization connected to the non-profit South Central Community Child Care Center.

Gokago (miniature palanquin) for Hina Matsuri (doll festival). Japan, 17th century. Lacquer and gold on wood, brass fittings, mineral pigments on paper, missing crossbar, 7 7/8 x 12 ¾ x 9 7/8 in. Jacqueline Avant Collection
image via Crow Collection

She was also known as an avid collector of Japanese lacquered boxes. In 2013, the Crow Museum of Asian Art in Dallas presented "Gold on Black: Japanese Lacquer from the Jacqueline Avant Collection," with 40 works selected by Hollis Goodall, Curator of Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The Crow Collection website notes of the exhibition:

In her collecting, Mrs. Avant has often been drawn to lacquer works used by women and men for arts and entertainment, such as poetry writing, poetry matching games, enjoyment of food or smoking, ceremonial display, wear (mulberry leaf inro), or personal care, such as boxes for combs, mirrors, tooth blackening powder, or incense. Also on view are boxes to hold objects of religious devotion, such as Buddhist holy texts (sutras), and even weapons for self-defense, including a decorated baton or knife.

Suzuribako (inkstone box) with design of Ono no Komachi. Japan, circa 1800. Lacquer, gold, silver, carved purple glass, black lacquered metal, gold metal on wood, suzu (tin alloy) rims; water dropper: engraved silver. 3 ½ x 7 7/8 x 6 5/16 in. Jacqueline Avant Collection
image via Crow Collection

The curator opens the story of the woman on the ink box. She is Ono no Komachi, one of the Six Poetic Immortals identified by Ki no Tsurayuki in the 10th century. Ono no Komachi was a stunning beauty in her youth, who, after having rejected one more suitor, is condemned to live her life alone. The contrast of old Ono no Komachi silhouetted against the depth of the black lacquer reflects a state of loneliness and nostalgia. The natural elements of chrysanthemums and mountains remind us of the transient nature of all things (mono no aware). One poem by Ono no Komachi provides the theme of this box:

This abandoned house
Shining in the mountain village
How many nights
Has autumn spent there?
Seeing the moonlight
Spilling down through the trees,
My heart fills to the brim with autumn.

—Ono no Komachi poem

(translation by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratami)

Read more at New York Times


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