Posted 2 months ago
This glass jug/ewer by Kyohei Fujita is about 10" (25 cm) high x 4" (10 cm) at its widest point and weighs 1 lb 11 ounces (782 g). It is not signed but came with a signed tomobako. I purchased this from a dealer in Japan.
I asked a friend who is also a dealer in Japan to take a look at this after I bought it and they said it is a correct, early tomobako and the ewer is in the style of Iwata Toshichi, so probably made by Fujita in the 1950s after he worked at Iwata Glass. Fujita also used the specific pink glass that is in this piece in his other work, so there is a good chance that this is Fujita's work. It is not a really sexy piece, but is a good example of his early work as an independent studio glass artist.
I was initially a bit concerned about the authenticity of this piece since I did not pay a lot for it, but it is also not in the style that Fujita later became famous and is best known for, so it is probably not that desirable for other collectors, which is fine with me. It was not listed very long before I spotted it so my reflexes may just have been faster than other collectors who did not snap it up as it was a "Buy it now" auction at a fixed price. I did take a few hours to do some research for a preliminary analysis which suggested to me it is authentic. The seller has over 6000 positive feedbacks and a return policy, so it was not a risky move. I really just wanted an example of Fujita's work in good condition with a tomobako for my collection. His "good" stuff seems to start at around $1000 and goes up from there. I am not a fan of matte finished glass but it is in good condition and I am very happy to have this piece in my collection. Not sure why Fujita chose to sandblast this piece but he commonly sandblasted or acid etched his work. The image of the interior shows that the colors would have been much more vibrant if that had not been done.
Kyohei Fujita (1921-2004) graduated when he was nineteen years old from the Tokyo Academy of Arts, Department of Metal Crafts, where he studied metal engraving. When he was twenty-six years old, he was employed by the Iwata Glass Co. but resigned two years later to establish himself as an independent glass artist. In the 1970s, he went to Venice Italy, a city with a long history of craft glass work, where he learned the use of colored glass and gold foils as he continued to develop his personal style. In 1973, Fujita debuted the “Japanese Iris” themed Liuli box, glass boxes which have complicated surface decorations. From that point on, the name Kyohei Fujita became synonymous with “Liuli box”. Fujita was a pioneer artist in studio art glass making and helped to bring the Studio Glass Movement to Japan. In 1989, he was appointed as the only glass artist to the Japan Art Academy, an honorary society for artists who have contributed to the arts.
In 1996 the Kyohei Fujita Museum of Glass was opened. It is a private museum in Matsushima which is devoted entirely to his works. In 1997 Fujita received an award from the Japanese government for “Distinguished Achievement in the Cultural Arts” and became recognized as a National Living Treasure in Japan. His work was included in the exhibit One of a Kind: The Studio Craft Movement at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, December 22, 2006-September 3, 2007. His works are held in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York and the Museum of Art and Design, New York.
Here is a youtube video of a visit the the Kyohei Fujita Glass Museum,
The museum visit starts at 9:16 and goes to to 15:44, but the lighting is poor.