John Henry Felix, dapper CEO of the Hawaii Medical Assurance Association, is a collector of South Pacific and Oriental art — a fascination he attributes to a childhood spent in the shadow of the Honolulu Academy of Arts and years traveling for the International Red Cross.
Much of Felix’s Japanese collection is devoted to the exquisite crafts of daily life: delicate snuff bottles, intricately carved ivory toggles known as netsuke, and the long, slender smoking pipes called kiseru.
Paintings and drawings
Felix’s collections also include outstanding works in the Western tradition, including oil paintings by Picasso and Chagall, and a drawing by Renoir. But much of this work still has a Hawaiian connection. Elegant drawings by Madge Tennent line the walls of his office, and this fine oil by Jean Charlot hangs in Felix’s Aina Haina home.
Felix’s downtown offices are chock-a-block with craftwork from places like Noumea, Palau and Indonesia. These woodcarvings, weaponry and woven crafts have a rustic authority to them. Many, like this cowry-studded mask from Papua New Guinea, are fearsome.