Isamu Noguchi: New York and Japan

Thanks to the wonders of technology, you can sit at your computer or phone or iPad and listen to the artist Isamu Noguchi speak to you about art! Watch this amazing video from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s website. Noguchi is showing us around his studio in New York and talking about how he works. This is a particularly special experience in 2018 since Noguchi died in 1988. SFMoma Isamu Noguchi film

This film provides incentive for you to visit Noguchi’s studio in New York. It was such a pleasure to visit with the New York art tour for Art Tours by Amy in 2014. Noguchi Museum in New York

In addition, Noguchi states “The whole world is someplace where you belong.” This is so appropriate when you consider that the other major Noguchi museum is on Shikoku in Japan. Visiting Noguchi’s home and garden in Mure on the island of Shikoku is magical and well worth the effort. We visited here on the Japan art tours for Art Tours by Amy in 2016 and 2017. Mure Shikoku Japan Noguchi Museum

Japan: New Reading for Art Tour to Japan and mountain hiking too

Japan is a passion of mine and it provides great pleasure when new books appear about Japan. Here are two of my favorites. Both are great resources to prepare for the November 2018 Japan Heritage art tour, as well as our mountain hiking trips on Shikoku, the Japan Alps, and the Kumano Kodo. Happy reading!

A Year in Japan by Kate T Williamson. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006
A visual diary of the author’s year in Japan that captures so many of my favorite quirks about the country. For example, she writes: “Safe Fruit. Japanese apples tend to be enormous, expensive, and well-protected. I once bought an apple in a department store supermarket (most department stores have supermarkets on the lowest level), and before I could stammer something about not needing a bag, the apple was surrounded by a foam cozy and placed inside a paper bag, which was then sealed with a sticker bearing the department store’s name and handed to me in a plastic shopping bag.”
A Year in Japan Princeton Architectural Press

Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC, 2012.
The Osaki family emigrated to Hawaii from Japan in the late 1800’s. John Osaki, my husband, is a third generation Japanese American. During a century in Hawaii, Japanese American cooking embraced many unusual ingredients, including SPAM and Vienna Sausages. This cookbook returns Japanese food to its “farm to table” roots, and includes simple food that tastes great. Turn to page 259 for chicken grilled with scallions. Three ingredients: boneless chicken thighs, sea salt, scallions. This is so simple and so very tasty. Oishii! Enjoy.
Japanese Farm Food

Camino and the Kumano, Dual Pilgrimages

Hiking and History. The Camino in Spain. The Kumano Kodo in Japan. These are the only two pilgrimages in the world that have been named “World Heritage Sites.”

If you have done the Camino in Spain, why not try the Kumano Kodo in Japan? You must be fit, and you should enjoy hiking uphill for about three hours at a time, and then downhill for three hours, and enjoy spending at least 6 hours every day hiking. You do? Come to Japan with us October 12-21, 2017.

The Art of Travel

Travel is an art. With experience, one can develop skills that enhance the experience.

If you are interested, here are some of my frequently used resources for crafting an enhanced travel experience:

1. Time and Date

When is sunset, or full moon at my destination?

How many hours time difference is there? When is a good time to call?

All these questions and more can be answered with a look at

2. Flight Stats
When making a connection, how often has your flight number been delayed in the past?
Is the plane coming into my connecting city running on time?
When meeting a flight, is the flight due to arrive on time?
Take a look at

3. Skype Out
When out of the US and staying somewhere with wifi, one inexpensive
option for making international phone calls is Skype Out.
Sign up for Skype.
Then purchase $10 of Skype credit.
Works great.

4. Train schedules:
In Europe, look at German Rail

In Japan, look at Jorudan

Send me an email with any feedback on these ideas! Happy travels, Amy

New York Frick expansion

Enjoy this about the expansion of the Frick in the Wall Street Journal this week! Thanks Betsy for sharing.

Objects as entrees to other places and times

Re-reading this post, I realize that it serves as the foundation for all the art tours I offer through Art Tours by Amy.

Happy Reading! It would be an honor to travel with you to Paris or Spain in 2015. Amy

Amy’s Winterthur story
Why Winterthur? Perhaps you are wondering why I am leading an art tour to Winterthur Museum, Delaware, and the Brandywine River Valley in May? Quite simply this is a spectacular time of year to visit this spot on planet earth. The gardens are in their full glory, and the way that the du Ponts “painted” with plants at Winterthur, Longwood, Nemours, and Hagley is quite spectacular.

Secondly, it was at Winterthur that I had the honor to be immersed in material culture. For two years, I studied at the museum as a Winterthur Fellow. My undergraduate degree, from Sweet Briar College, is in American Studies (History, Literature, and Art History), and I also studied at the Louvre in Paris. It was at Winterthur that my interdisciplinary study, largely based in documents, received a deeper emphasis on objects. James Deetz’s book, In Small Things Forgotten, serves as a foundation for the study of material culture. The important emphasis is on initiating your inquiry of the past through an object, or objects. Archaeology is rooted in the object, and with pre-historic peoples, there are no accompanying historical documents to flesh out your understanding of the object at hand. As Deetz writes, objects “carry messages from their makers and users.” We can “decode those messages and apply them to our understanding of the human experience.”

At Winterthur, I studied furniture, silver, ceramics, textiles, glass, paintings and more. I recall one Sunday morning, before the museum opened, studying a Paul Revere tankard in the DuPont dining room, holding the tankard with white gloves and closely examining it, a powerful entree to the world of 18th century Boston. For my thesis, I read every letter written by Eleuthera du Pont (1806-1876) starting with her earliest, at about the age of 10, until her marriage to Thomas Mackie Smith, and kept an index of all of the objects she mentioned in her letters. I wanted her to tell me what objects were most important to her. She wrote most frequently about her needlework, and that is what I selected for my master’s thesis. With her 4,000 letters, the embroidery patterns, and finished embroidery all preserved at Hagley Museum which also includes her family home, Eleutherian Mills, I was immersed in her early 19th century world for nearly two years. My thesis was published by Winterthur Portfolio (volume 23, number 4, winter 1988) with the University of Chicago Press.

Fast forward several decades, and I now travel the globe, introducing small groups to amazing objects, and helping them to gain insight into the past. Powerful moments include Lascaux cave in France, Tiwanaku on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, Koyasan in Japan, and the Duomo in Florence. An object, such a Brunnelleschi’s dome on the Duomo, serves as an entree to a moment in time, in this case Renaissance Italy. Thus my graduate work at Winterthur infuses my current career as a travel professional, and provides the intellectual framework for the tours offered here as Art Tours by Amy.

Paris, New York, Boston: recommended reading

Here is a great book! With chapters on Louisine Havemeyer, JP Morgan, and Isabella Stewart Gardner, and more, this books provides a rich background for understanding the art of collecting in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Full of detail, drama, gossip, and real research, this book is a lively look into the private world of the super rich and the race to acquire masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer and more! Enjoy!

Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures by Cynthia Saltzman


Chicago Tribune

Wall Street Journal

Harvard Magazine


Japan Shikoku on TV Tuesday December 16, 2014

The architecture and traditions of Japanese Buddhism figure prominently in our mountain hiking trip to Japan. In April 2013, a film crew from WGBH Boston accompanied our group. The resulting six-part
series, Sacred Journeys, airs nationwide beginning on Tuesday December 16, 2014. The Shikoku episode is scheduled for 9pm and appears on the Oregon Public Broadcasting schedule! Enjoy!

London new British Museum Viking exhibit

Read all about it. The current issue of Smithsonian Magazine has a feature article on the new Viking exhibition which will be at the British Museum in London when our Art Tour is there in May.

Happy Reading! Amy

Reading List for Winterthur Museum and Brandywine Valley

For more in-depth information on Winterthur Museum and the many museums of the Brandywine River Valley (in Delaware and Pennsylvania), I suggest the following books and article:


Andrew Wyeth, The New York Times

Cantor, Jay E. Winterthur. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1997.

Cooper, Wendy A. An American Vision: Henry Francis du Pont’s Winterthur Museum. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art and Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 2002. Order online.

Eversmann, Pauline. The Winterthur Guide to Recognizing Styles: American Decorative Arts from the 17th to the 19th Centuries. Winterthur, Del.: Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 2001.

Fennimore, Donald L., et al. Eye for Excellence: Masterworks from Winterthur. Winterthur, Del.: Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1994.

Krill, Rosemary Troy, and Pauline K. Eversman. Early American Decorative Arts, 1620-1860: A Handbook for Interpreters Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, 2000. (Winterthur Museum, and American Association for State and Local History).

Lord, Ruth. Henry F duPont and Winterthur: A Daughter’s Portrait. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.

Sweeney, John A. Winterthur Illustrated. New York: Chanticleer Press, 1963.

Wamsley, James S. The Brandywine Valley: An Introduction to its Cultural Treasures, New York: Harry N Abrams, 1992.