Doug Frazer has been collecting, buying and selling Japanese prints since 1986. He is a member of several trade associations, including: the IFPDA (International Fine Print Dealer’s Association), FADA (Fine Art Dealer’s Association), CINOA, and the Ukiyo-e Dealer’s Association of Japan. He has owned two galleries, one in Seattle, and one in Bellevue, WA. You can meet Doug to view prints privately or at one of the art fairs where The Art of Japan exhibits publicly.
Doug Frazer graduated from University of California Santa Barbara in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology. While completing his major in the Life Sciences, he continued to attend art classes, studying Art History, and taking Studio Art with a specialization in Ceramics. He will tell you that back then he was put off by “Art-Speak,” the language of art historians. Instead, he was captivated by the techniques and technology of printmaking. His most interesting and visually inspiring class was in the history of printmaking. The class focused on the woodcuts and engravings by Durer, but he found that the woodcuts were the most fascinating. It was not until after college, however, that Doug first noticed Japanese prints.
It was a truly serpentine path to a career selling Japanese prints; a path marked by frolics and detours to commercial diving, commercial fishing and finally, Law School. Around 1986 while attending Law School, he bought his first Japanese print while walking in the antique district in Tacoma. Doug passed an antique shop that displayed a Katsukawa Shunsen print in the window. He walked in, bought the Shunsen print and a small collection of comic Kuniyoshi prints at the same time. Investigating the history, authorship and meaning of the prints started a lifelong and consuming interest in Japanese graphic art as well as American and European painting. Back in the 1980’s, it was possible to go out any day and find something interesting and sometimes even important in the shops up and down the West Coast. The yen was strong back then and he learned to find Japanese prints that he could sell in Japan. Doug began to collect what he liked, modern prints from Taisho-Showa, and would sell the rest to finance his collecting.
By 1998 Doug was a member of FADA (Fine Art Dealer’s Association); within a year he had joined the IFPDA (International Fine Print Dealer’s Association) and maintained a gallery space in Seattle within the attic at Honeychurch Antiques on James Street. Doug’s gallery specialized in Japanese Prints. Exhibitions and collections were displayed occasionally in the main gallery on the second floor at Honeychurch. During the dozen or so years from his first purchase of a Japanese print in 1986 to maintaining a small gallery in the late 90’s, Doug maintained a friendly competition with Richard Waldman. During an art fair they realized that joining forces would increase their power and exposure as dealers. These former competitors devised a plan to form a business partnership. Doug’s interest in early modern prints complemented Richard’s expertise with Ukiyo-e prints of the 18th and 19th centuries. Together they could hold inventory and cover the subject of Japanese prints from the 18th century to the 20th century.
The Art of Japan, the original name of Richard Waldman’s Santa Fe Gallery became the name of the new venture. The Art of Japan is a general partnership between former competitors; a business devoted to trade in Japanese prints and paintings.