One Collector’s High Mountain Road to Hokusai

Jitendra V. Singh was nearly 60, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, when he finally bought his first woodblock print by the revered Japanese printmaker Katsushika Hokusai, whose work from the Edo 19th century includes a masterly series, “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.”

It was 2013, and Dr. Singh was enchanted by Hokusai’s view of the sacred mountain in Japan, central to each image in the artist’s series: sometimes dominant, sometimes in the background, but always present.

By then Dr. Singh had made three long trips into the Himalayas, gone high-altitude trekking on Mt. Everest, and journeyed to Mount Kailash in Tibet, which is sacred to Hindus.

“I have a thing about mountains,” Dr. Singh, now 70 and retired, said during an interview in his apartment in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “To me Hokusai captured the essence of the mountain.”

Fascination with Hokusai and his images has led Dr. Singh on a singular quest to assemble the entire “Thirty-Six Views” series (actually there are 46 images.) He completed that challenge in January 2023, and this week, he is selling the entire set at Christies. The estimate is $3 million to $5 million.

Jitendra V. Singh, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The retired management professor and trekker completed his goal of collecting all 46 prints in the series “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji” in 2023. “I have a thing about mountains,” he said.Credit…James Jackman for The New York Times
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