Masters of Enamel: The Collection of John and Muriel Okladek
Including Further Japanese Works of Art from the Meiji Period
Online Auction: 22 October–3 November 2021 • 2:00 PM GMT • London

Masters of Enamel: The Collection of John and Muriel Okladek | Including Further Japanese Works of Art from the Meiji Period, 1868-1912 22 October–3 November 2021 • 2:00 PM GMT • London

M asters of Enamel: The Collection of John and Muriel Okladek | Including Further Japanese Works of Art from the Meiji Period, 1868-1912. The sale comprises fine enamels from the late John Okladek and his wife Muriel, whose joint passion for the elaborate art of the enameller culminated in this extensive collection by exceptional artists such as Namikawa Yasuyuki and his workshop, Hayashi Kodenji and Shibata.

The breadth of the sale ranges from earlier pieces from the Kyoto Namikawa workshop, to later, more experimental designs of the enamellers working towards the end of the Meiji period.

The later part of the sale comprises Meiji period works of art from various sources including works by the Komai workshop, lacquer and silver ware.


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Exhibition Times

Saturday 30 October12.00pm - 5.00pm
Sunday 31 October 12.00pm - 5.00pm
Monday 1 November9.00am - 4.30pm
Tuesday 2 November9.00am - 4.30pm

The Collection of John and Muriel Okladek


By Leslie Okladek Seff

John Okladek (1929-2015), together with his wife, Muriel (b. 1931) were avid world travelers and collectors of art, ranging from tribal artifacts, lapidary specimens, mid-century modern paintings, Murano glass, and Asian calligraphy and ceramics. In over forty or so years, they curated a distinctive collection of Japanese cloisonné enamels, including one of the largest single collection of works by Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927).

When they bought, they subscribed to the ‘Warren Buffet approach’ to investing – they almost never sold. Therefore, the pieces that comprise their collections have all been off the market for possibly around forty years or more. With his judicious eye for detail, John was occasionally consulted by the premier auction houses relative to his expertise in cloisonné to identify unsigned pieces for their likely provenance by major enamellers.

He was a graduate of the Pratt Art Institute in New York and an early and life-long member of the New York Art Director's Club, as well as an entrepreneur who managed his own commercial design and photography firm, Contemporary Studio, in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Muriel, a special education teacher, often chose bold pieces that uniquely suited her tastes, which has added to the variety and breadth of their collection.

Japanese Cloisonné Enamels: An Expression of Endless PatienceBy Gregory Irvine

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