The Wall Street Journal has just posted online The Crafty Collector—my article for tomorrow’s “Leisure and Arts” page. It explores the current Washington, DC, exhibition (to July 7) of the late psychiatrist Paul Singer‘s collection of early Chinese art, which was given upon his death in 1997 to the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery but hasn’t been shown there as a group since 1999. For reasons that I explain in the WSJ, the 5,000-piece trove was only formally accessioned last year.
I had a personal interest in this story: More than three decades ago, I had interviewed the eccentric, engaging Singer in his object-crammed two-bedroom apartment in Summit, NJ, for my 1982 book, “The Complete Guide to Collecting Art” (Knopf). So this was, for me, a sentimental journey, to see how well the gutsy hunches of this highly informed but self-taught collector had stood the test of time and scholarship.
I’ll include a video of my tour of the exhibition with its curator, J. Keith Wilson, in a future post.
But for now, here’s my companion slideshow for my WSJ article, illustrating the objects mentioned, in the same order in which they appear in my piece: