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Robert Hatfield Ellsworth (1929–2014)

The Sensuous Immortal

By Alexandra Munroe

Hei Hung-Lu (left) and Robert H. Ellsworth (right) in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, hunting for ink paintings in 1981. Courtesy Andy Hei.

"Objects are your best teachers," Robert Hatfield Ellsworth liked to say. But now that America's greatest Asian art dealer is gone, many of us recall Bobby, as he was known to his friends, as our best teacher. Collector, connoisseur, world traveler, scholar, author, generous donor and cultural diplomat, Ellsworth was the preeminent force behind the growth of the market for Asian art in the United…

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