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Online Workshop “Yamanaka & Co.: Early Pioneer of the Global Asian Art Trade” on 15. April 2021

Museum für Asiatische Kunst

Yamanaka & Company was one of the most prolific art dealers selling Asian art to buyers in Europe and the United States in the late 19th century and early decades of the 20th century. A family business that was initially based in Osaka, Japan, it became a shareholding corporation and a global leader in selling Asian art mainly to a Western clientele.

In 1894, the first gallery outside of Japan opened in New York City, with more branches following in Boston, Chicago, London, and Beijing, among other locations. Art collecting giants including the Rockefellers, Ernest Fenollosa, Charles Lang Freer, and Osvald Sirén were some of Yamanaka’s clients. The broad variety of Asian objects from East Asia and South and Southeast Asia sold by Yamanaka are now in leading museums around the world, including the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Rijksmuseum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Freer Gallery of Art. 

Examining the history of Yamanaka & Company illustrates the complicated nature of the art market at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, implicating colonial entanglements, inner Asian translocation of objects, and forced sales during World War II. This workshop will bring together members of the Yamanaka family, academics, and museum specialists who will discuss the impact of the Yamanaka trading activities on today‘s museum collections.

Informationen und Online registration

This program is the second installment in the series Hidden Networks: Trade in Asian Art, which is co-organized by the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art; Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; and The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.


  • Rosina Buckland, The British Museum
  • Monika Bincsik, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Najiba Choudhury, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
  • Rachel Harris, Seattle Art Museum
  • Jessica Harrison-Hall, The British Museum
  • Christine Howald, Zentralarchiv/Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Yuriko Kuchiki, Independent scholar
  • Michel Lee, National Museums of World Culture, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Yu-Ping Luk, The British Museum
  • Ji Young Park, Technische Universität (TU) Berlin, Germany
  • Josephine Rout, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
  • Akiko Takesue, Independent scholar
  • Laura Vigo, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts 
  • Ching-Ling Wang, The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
  • Tatsuro Yamanaka, CEO, Yamanaka & Co., Ltd., Kyoto, Japan
  • Yuzuru Yamanaka, CEO, Yamanaka & Co., Ltd., Osaka, Japan