Yashiro (in Tokyo) to Bernard Berenson

[letterhead: Institute of Art Research/ Ueno Park, Tokio]

January 30, 1940

Dear B.B.,

It was really a delightful surprise to receive from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation the new edition of your “Drawings of the Florentine Painters,” the publication of which I had long been looking forward to. You can never know how glad and how thankful I am.

I cannot help expressing my heart-felt joy over the appearance of a new edition, which, compared with those large volumes of the first edition, is handy and helpful for all lovers of Italian art. Because I loved this work perhaps best of all your writings and because I knew and appreciated its value, I really thought that the privilege of approaching it should be shared more widely among students. And now my wish has come true. Moreover, revised with the knowledge of the last thirty years of study, no one will doubt that it is the standard work on Florentine and Italian art not only for the present but for the long future.

Having been given this book, what especially made me happy is more personal. In each page of the text and almost in each plate of the illustrations I find some recollections of the old days of my stay in Florence which are ever dear to me. Reading the preface I thought much about Mrs. Berenson, Miss Nicky Mariano, and Kenneth Clark who helped in the work, and whom together with yourself I always cherish in my memory. I feel almost jealous, not to have been able to join them to assist in your work. In England after I had left Italy, Kenneth Clark and I used to meet a great deal and talked over the book. Especially, since Kenneth studied Leonardo’s drawings thoroughly at Windsor and I too studied them in my own way, our common interest made us both recollect our frequent meetings at I Tatti in your company and in your beautiful garden.

The book makes me feel sad at the same time. It reminds me of my Italian studies from which I am now more and more estranged. Since I returned to Tokyo I have been concentrating my energy on the study of Eastern art. I am proud to tell you that with the method of study which I have learned from you, I am building up the history of Eastern art slowly but steadily. You will see results of my efforts in some future. Though thus my special field has become different from yours, yet my old love for Italian painting still remains, which not only makes me fully appreciate your work but fills my heart with deep emotion. Please don’t forget that your pupil in Japan will always remain faithful to you.

Give my best regards to Mrs. Berenson and Miss Mariano.

Yours ever,

Yukio Yashiro