“I thought of all the beautiful things …”

Siegfried Bing’s Final Musings

In: Journal of Japonisme
Martin EidelbergProfessor emeritus, Rutgers University

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In 1921, the noted author and critic Gabriel Mourey recalled a visit he had made sixteen years earlier to see the dying Siegfried Bing, the great French champion of Japonisme. On that occasion in the summer of 1905, they met in Vaucresson where Bing was attempting to convalesce. Mourey recalled in exact detail the appearance of Bing’s apartment in Paris. He remembered the displays of painted screens, statues, and vases so vividly as to almost make Bing’s interior come alive. He also gave a sense of Bing’s intense sensual pleasure in seeing the beautiful things he had collected. We discover that Bing was not merely a merchant but an Aesthete.

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