Emporio Janetti Padre e Figli and the Japanese Art Market in Florence in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century

Massimiliano Papini

Abstract


In the 1870s collecting Japanese art products started to be popular among a wider range of collectors, not only among circles of intellectuals, artists, and designers. This cultural phenomenon also reached Italy, and when a group of Japanese diplomats (Iwakura Mission) arrived in Florence in May 1873, it reported a very positive impression of a shop that sold Japanese goods. This article aims to clarify the context and background for this enthusiastic comment, using the archive of Frederick Stibbert (1838-1906), a British citizen born in Florence who created an impressive Japanese collection consisting mainly of armour and weapons, but also ceramics, textiles, and folding screens. Despite his immense wealth and extensive travels around Europe, Stibbert purchased most of the Japanese artworks through Florentine art dealers such as Janetti Padre e Figli, the shop probably referenced by the Japanese diplomats. As this article outlines, Janetti was able to establish a direct supply channel from Japan due to the help of Vittorio Aymonin (1826-1888), a silkworm-egg dealer who resided in Japan from 1867 to 1888. This discovery explains both the positive comment expressed by the Japanese diplomats, and the decision made by Frederick Stibbert of choosing Janetti as his favourite dealer of Japanese artworks from the late 1860s to the end of the 1880s.


Keywords


Japanese Art; Florence; Frederick Stibbert; Janetti; art market

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.23690/jams.v2i3.62

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