Collectors who are just starting out spend time chasing down their objects of desire. Once they’ve made it, they can sit back and wait for the phone to ring.
“We’re at the point now, where, if something brilliant comes up, somebody calls us,” said Diane Abbey, who, with her husband, Arthur, is among the world’s top collectors of Japanese bamboo baskets. The couple — who split their time between the Upper East Side and the Hamptons when not traveling the world — own around 300 in total.
Some of them were seen in the 2017-18 exhibition “Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A version of the show opens at Japan’s Oita Prefectural Art Museum in May. The Abbeys are donating much of the show’s contents to the Met, which they can see from the window of their apartment; they could send the baskets down via a zip line if such methods weren’t frowned upon.