Kaikodo, “The Hall of Embracing Antiquity,” was the name given to the Kita-Kamakura study and library of Howard and Mary Ann Rogers by their Chinese mentor in Japan in the late 1970’s. It also referred to their growing personal collection of Chinese paintings, ceramics, and other works of art. Howard, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, was then Professor of Chinese Art at Sophia University in Tokyo while Mary Ann, graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and U.C. Berkeley as well, was a frequent lecturer at Sophia and the College Women’s Association of Japan, while also serving as a researcher at the Idemitsu Museum of Arts.
In 1983 the Rogers, at the prompting of associates in Japan, established a company, naturally named Kaikodo, dedicated to the acquisition and sale of works of art of high aesthetic quality and art-historical interest and importance. Working out of their Kita-Kamakura residence, Kaikodo rapidly became known to museum professionals in Japan and around the world as an important source for fine and rare Asian paintings and antiquities.
In order to better serve its growing clientele of institutional and private clients, Howard and Mary Ann decided to move the center of their business to New York City and purchased a townhouse on the Upper East Side. Following a more than yearlong renovation, in 1996 they opened their gallery described at the time by The New York Times as “one of the most beautiful commercial spaces” in the city. Soon after, Carol Conover, at Sotheby’s for nearly 20 years and a highly respected specialist in Chinese art, joined the Kaikodo family. She was soon made Director of the New York gallery and has worked closely with many universities, museums and private collectors seeking important works of art, as well as serving as an expert for the U.S. State Department.
In 2005 the gallery was moved to its present space at 74 East 79th Street. Carol remains in charge of gallery operations while the Rogers devote their time to acquisitions and to the production of the Kaikodo Journal, a sales catalogue noted for in-depth and thoughtful entries based on exhaustive research. Essays contributed by numerous specialists in Asia art and culture have also contributed to the high regard in which the journal is held worldwide. With 31 volumes published between 1996 and 2015, Kaikodo Journal is now an exclusively online publication.
In addition to pursuing new acquisitions, managing the commercial activities of Kaikodo, and producing the journal, the Rogers have continued to be deeply involved in the scholarly world of art history. Their academic and organizational contributions to major exhibitions of Chinese painting and ceramics, as well as contributing to the relevant periodical literature, have kept them actively involved in a field that has been and continues to be much more to them than merely a business.