Press Releases | General


James D. Julia, Inc. Welcomes Industry Expert Tony Wilcox To Its World-Class Fine Firearms Division.

August 2, 2016 – Fairfield, ME – James D. Julia today announced that Tony Wilcox has joined the company as a member of its Fine Firearms division. This division, internationally acknowledged as the finest in the industry for high end, expensive firearms, has conducted some of the highest grossing gun auctions in history. The division, […]

Read More

Summer in Maine

When you think of summer in Maine, the advertising folks have you thinking of lazy summer days with sailboats bobbing in the harbor, bathers laying on a sandy beach or scenic hikes along a majestic rocky ridge. Not here at Julia’s.

Read More

Research Library

This past week, my wife and I were in Florida for vacation. We have this wonderful little place on the East Coast where we try and go every year with friends of ours. It’s become a bit of a ritual, and after a few years, you start to see the same people come year after […]

Read More

One of a Kind by Mark Ford, CEO

Whether it be Fine Art, Asian and Antiques, or Rare Lamps, Glass and Fine Jewelry, or our Rare and Collectible Firearms division, Julia’s is known for offering at auction some of the most amazing, rare and collectible items in the world. During March 14th and 15th, we had our semi-annual Extraordinary Auction of Rare and […]

Read More

What’s New for 2016 at James D. Julia?

by Mark Ford, CEO 2015 was a busy year behind the scenes at James D. Julia. Last April, we changed our computer system that we had been using for over ten years. We moved into a more robust system that had many new features that we believed would deliver a better experience for all our […]

Read More

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays – All of us at James D. Julia Auctioneers want to wish you and your family the very best this holiday season!

Read More

Maine is known for many wonderful things – the “Vacationland” license plate is no accident!… by Mark Ford, CEO

James D. Julia Auctioneers is known for many strengths and attractions as well. We are one of the Top Ten auctioneers in North America (measured by annual sales). Our firearms division is world renown and sells more rare, collectible and expensive firearms than any other auctioneer in the world. Our other two divisions: Rare Lamps, Glass and Fine Jewelry and Fine Art, Asian and Antiques produce sales that are anticipated and followed internationally. We are known for bringing fabulous collections that are “fresh” to the market.

Read More

No “Caveat Emptor” at Julia’s!

No “Caveat Emptor” at Julia’s! – As many of you know, Julia’s has been growing rapidly for the past several years. Based on annual sales, we are now one of the top ten Antique Auctioneers in North America. When Jim, and his dad Arthur, started this business almost 50 years ago it was built on a foundation of fairness and honesty.

Read More

Summer in Maine

As I am writing this, it is a beautiful day here in Maine. As many of you know, it tends to be a little brisk up here in Maine most of the year, but this is one of those spectacular days, the temperatures are in the low 90s, the sun is shining and not a […]

Read More

Changes at Julia’s…

The month of June has been filled with changes here at Julia’s.

On Monday, June 22nd we announced the sale of the Antique Advertising, Toy & Doll division to Dan Morphy Auctions, LLC. Dan Morphy Auctions has long been a strong competitor of Julia’s, and we have been impressed with Dan’s integrity, passion and commitment to the Antique Toy & Doll auctions. He approached Julia’s with an offer that “we couldn’t refuse.” Andrew Truman, our long time head of the department will be departing Julia’s, and may be joining the Morphy team at a later date. Julie Killam will focus full time on assisting Mike Fredericks in the Lamp and Glass Division. Many of our long time catalogers will be joining the Morphy’s team including our senior cataloger, Jay Lowe.

Read More

James D. Julia Auctioneers Sells Their Antique Advertising, Toy & Doll Division To Dan Morphy Auctions, LLC

Fairfield Maine, June 24, 2015 – President James D. Julia has just announced that effective immediately, he is selling the firm’s Antique Advertising, Toy & Doll Division to Dan Morphy Auctions LLC of Denver, PA. “For nearly 30 years, we have been a major force in the antique toy, doll and advertising world but as […]

Read More

Visit Maine by Jim Julia, President

Eight times a year, visitors travel from all over North America and various parts of the world to attend nationally and internationally recognized auctions at James D. Julia Auction House in Fairfield, Maine. The diverse offering of quality antiques, fair and honest representation, the excitement and thrill of participating live is what continually draws these […]

Read More

Julia’s Welcomes New Department Head for the Firearms Division by Mark Ford, CEO

I am excited to announce that Mr. Francis Lombardi has accepted the position as the Firearms Department Head with Julia’s. Mr. Lombardi will be responsible for managing the operations and growth of the department; overseeing firearms staff and specialty consultants; and handling a broad range of firearms for auction. Mr. Lombardi has a special interest […]

Read More

Life on the Road with Andrew Truman

After a 90+ minute delay of our expected departure, we were on the road with what the meteorologists refer to as ineffective sunshine glaring through the windshield. That’s sunlight with all the brightness but no warming effects. Despite encasing ourselves in the cab of a 26’ Penske that we would call home for the next […]

Read More

Visit Maine

Eight times a year, visitors travel from all over North America and various parts of the world to attend nationally and internationally recognized auctions at James D. Julia Auction House in Fairfield, Maine. The diverse offering of quality antiques, fair and honest representation, the excitement and thrill of participating live is what continually draws these […]

Read More

An Appreciation of Nineteenth-Century Folk Portraits

Many so-called “primitive” portraits of the first half of the nineteenth century are extraordinarily captivating in their abstract, imaginative, and seemingly humble execution. Their beauty and charm lie in the manner in which the artists used colors and perspective. While the most prized primitive portraits show degrees of ingenuity and a divorce from reality that […]

Read More

The Making of a Woodblock Print

The Japanese Woodblock Print is an art form, which highlights flowing, curved outlines, simplistic forms as well as the detailing of flat areas containing color. This form of art has not only existed for a long time in Asian history, but it has also deeply impacted artists in both Europe and North America throughout the 19th century.

Woodblock printing was first used in Japan in the 8th century to print religious texts. Buddhists traveling from China brought these texts, as well as the printing method itself, to Japan. These first prints were made in a single color using only Sumi ink. The world would have to wait nearly 900 years for the first colored prints to appear. Early color prints were made using a single block and black ink. The colors were hand painted by workers in the print shops. It was only when the popularity of these prints exceeded the production capacity of the workshops that the true woodblock print evolved.

To meet the rising demand, the printers employed master carvers to make individual blocks for each of the colors in the print. Many of the finer woodblock prints contained 15 or more colors, requiring 15 different expertly carved wooden print blocks. Each of these blocks had to be carved with great precision to ensure that the colored sections met perfectly. Earliest among these images were private calendars that were printed without first by Suzuku Hornbook (1725-1770), and later with other various artists. One of the most famous of Suzuku Hornbook’s print was the image “The Køya Jewel River”.

Beginning in the mid-1760s, the newly discovered color prints were sold commercially; their depictions included themes that were both classical as well as contemporary; these themes included literary scenes, the lives of celebrities, women of beauty, travel scenes, erotic scenes, as well as actors in their different dramatic roles. During the 19th century, some of the most exhibited and represented artists of Japanese Woodblock Prints are Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825), Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865), Utamaro Kitagawa (1750-1806), and Andø Hiroshige (1797-1858).

The techniques that were used were varied, but were absolutely critical to the final print. While working, the artist is required to keep a very specific goal in mind while creating the blocks. This mindset should be in line with the Japanese tradition of demonstrating the precise direction of the brush that would be painting the picture, so that the features of the original piece, as well as the written characters, are not in any way destroyed. So from the artist’s point of view, the direction of the knife should match identically the direction of the brush, which initially inscribed the picture. This being said, it is easy to understand that it takes an extremely skilled hand to replicate the unique and exact features captured in the originals, while simultaneously demonstrating the artist’s own skill and character.

For woodblock prints to be created, there had to be the artist, the block maker/carver, the printer, and of course, the paper maker. A Japanese artist would create the artwork using ink to draw a line symbolizing color. From there, the student within the school would take the design, copy it onto thin, translucent paper, after which the publisher would secure thick and seasoned blocks of cherry wood to the sides being used. As the copy of the artwork was placed onto the blocks, the lines would be cut out by the block maker.

Next, the block maker would eliminate the wood so he was only cutting around the lines. This way, a key-block effect was created in which the lines were high. The step following included rubbing ink onto the raised lines and then proofing paper applied on top. This paper would be rubbed by the block maker to produce a copy of the image. Also known, as “pulls”, the paper with the image could then be used to create other blocks using colored ink if so desired. From that point, the blocks would be carefully carved.

When these parts of the process were complete, the printer took the key-block, again rubbing ink on it, left alone so the outline would dry. Colors would then be mixed by the printer with all of the blocks being covered in paint and then color printed. As you can imagine, the process of wiping the color on to produce a gorgeous design was painstaking and key to the printer’s success. Keep in mind that to maintain colors and keep everything aligned, precision was required when passing between blocks. Finally, the registration marks were applied by the block maker.

Interestingly, most colors used for woodblock prints were derived from vegetable extracts until the latter part of the 19th century. While the colors were beautiful, consisting of blue, violet, and pink, if the dye were exposed to sunlight, they would fade to gray or ivory. To enhance the beauty of the blocks with a shinier surface, some printers would add small particles of metal dust or mica. Additionally, the number of print runs during the 18th century had to be limited to 200. Otherwise, the key-block lines would start to show significant wear and tear. In fact, over time the colors were so saturated that producing good results was near impossible.

With time came new options such as the one-sheet design now, being stretched out to two or even three sheets in the late 18th century. For this to be successful, the edges had to join yet at the same time, the artist and printmakers needed to keep each sheet as an individual piece of art. Again, it was common for prints to be done in series, some as many as 100 or more pages. Most often, people would store the multi-page prints in boxes or sometimes, mount them in albums.

Often times, sheets would be joined horizontally and rolled up similar to a scroll. In most cases, these sheets would show a gorgeous landscape or city scene. While some woodblock prints were merely the actual artwork, some publishers also allowed consumers to request additional work such as writing done in the form of poetry, a birth announcement, New Year’s greeting, and so on. Typically, these paintings were elaborate and the detailing incredible.

The wood that is used for Japanese Woodblock Prints is selected very carefully. The woods considered include only very specific types of trees, and only certain textures of wood within those different species. No matter what, the texture of the wood must be extremely fine and very hard.

The differences between old and modern methods of Japanese woodcutting are as follows: the method of cutting on wood – as the ancient woodcuts is deeper than the ones that are made today. However, though more shallow, the present day pieces allow for much greater detail.

The majority of the woodblock prints were produced in the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo (formerly Edo). Workshops in Kyoto still produce woodblock prints today.

Read More

Happy Holidays!

I just want to take this time to thank all of our consignors and clients. It has been wonderful getting to know so many of you and learning about your business, collections and passions. When the collections arrive at Julia’s it is almost like watching the kids on Christmas morning. Typically the FEDEX driver drops […]

Read More

Quilt-Making: An American Tradition

Stroll around any local craft show and you will see homemade quilts to awe and inspire. Bright colors, intricate patterns and pristine craftsmanship will abound, but where did the tradition begin? The picture that pops to mind is a pioneer woman sitting by the fire as she lovingly stiches a beautiful quilt to keep her […]

Read More

Condition Report by Mark Ford, CEO

At Julia’s, we strive to be fair and honest in all our dealings – both with our consignors and our bidders. We work to ensure that every bidder has as much information as possible to make their decisions; from high quality photography, to image “ZOOM” capability online, to 360° views on selected items. This is […]

Read More

James D. Julia Debuts Interactive New Catalog Features That Add Information, Value, and New Perspectives to Your Buying and Selling Experience.

We are excited to unveil several innovative new technologies in association with our November 28th and 29th Lamp & Glass and November 30th Advertising, Toy & Doll Auctions. These new features, designed to bring our customers’ experiences with James D. Julia to the next level, will revolutionize the way auction lots are presented, examined, and […]

Read More

Mark A. Ford, C.P.A Becomes New CEO with Julia’s

I, together with my COO, Fred Olsen, and our entire staff are extremely pleased to announce the recent addition of our management team. In recent years our company has grown extensively which has required us to expand our management team. Mark does not replace anyone on our staff. His position is an addition to our […]

Read More

James D. Julia Auctioneers Receives Special Business Excellence Award From The Governor of The State of Maine

At a formal ceremony on Monday May 14th, Governor Paul LePage presented James D. Julia Auctioneers of Fairfield, Maine with the 2012 Governor’s award for Business Excellence. This was the 22nd annual awards which are administered by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and sponsored by FairPoint Communications. The award recognizes Maine companies […]

Read More