Mitsui Fine Arts is uniquely positioned to show you the way to build your art collection or find you a single art object to cherish. I source and sell Japanese art, early craft, and design.
My family (Endo) and that of my late husband (Mitsui) have been deeply embedded in the enlightened merchant class of Kyoto since the 18th century. Once known as the Machi-shu, this facet of society has always been closely involved in the Way of Tea.
I am privileged to be one of the very last people to have received training in the aesthetic traditions. This came about partly because I grew up in Kyoto, which was spared the bombing of WWII and the subsequent rebuilding that rapidly modernized the rest of the country. In Kyoto, the old customs endured. And, because I’m an only child, my father and grandfather raised me as they might have raised a male heir to our family kimono business, imbuing me with a deep and instinctive understanding of our art and culture.
Early in my career, however, I deliberately took a break from Japanese art. I spent five years exploring French and Chinese art along with modern and contemporary American art, until I felt completely confident in returning to my roots with an expanded view. Since then, I’ve renewed longstanding relationships with a tea master and private art dealers back in Kyoto, who very generously became mentors and provided entrance into the cloistered art market. With deep thanks to my ancestors of ten generations before me, I feel fortunate to be granted rare access to this market.
The time feels right for Mitsui Fine Arts to connect a new audience with the Japanese artworks I’ve been pursuing all my life. Today, I sense a highly sophisticated appetite for excellent works of art, craft, and design attuned with the high culture of old Kyoto — and a desire to enjoy them comfortably in contemporary life.
Whether you seek one singular object or wish to build a collection, trust me to be your guide.
Images: (Top) Two kanji characters reads Mitsui. (Bottom) Portrait of Misako Mitsui’s grandfather, circa 1910.