René Scholten is the President of Scholten Japanese Art which opened in New York in September 2000. Mr. Scholten, like many art dealers, began as an avid collector of Japanese art, with a particular passion for woodblock prints. He first encountered Japanese culture in the 1970s and 80s when his work as a software consultant brought him in contact with Japanese clients and Japan itself. He began collecting Japanese prints in the early 1980s- his first major purchase was a 1929 woodblock print by Torii Kotondo (1900-1976), "Make-Up." From there, his collection quickly grew, as did his involvement in the Japanese art community of Holland, and beyond.
Initially Mr. Scholten focused on collecting the work of contemporaries of Kotondo (primarily shin-hanga artists), but in time he found himself drawn to more traditional ukiyo-e of the 18th and 19th century as well. As he came to understand Japan through the eyes of ukiyo-e, primarily the Edo Period, he became increasingly interested in many other forms and aspects of Japanese art. Eventually the Scholten Collection would include prints, paintings, screens, lacquer, porcelain, Buddhist sculpture, and more recently, contemporary Japanese ceramics.
Collecting Japanese art has been a source of great joy and satisfaction for Mr. Scholten, both from the fine works of art he acquired, as well as the people he met along the way. His experiences in the art world eventually inspired him to expand his involvement in the field by opening a gallery in The Hague in 1995. The business quickly expanded, and 1999 he decided to launch the gallery in New York and concentrate his efforts here. While he no longer collects in areas that would be in direct competition with the activities of Scholten Japanese Art, an insatiable collector can never completely stop. Mr. Scholten frequently loans works from his collection to museums in Holland and the United States, and continues to supporting a wide range of Japanese art-related projects and institutions.