Iconic Japanese art on sale online


Artwork by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is currently on sale online at artnet Auctions. Murakami (Japanese, b.1962), is considered to be the father of the iconic Japanese ‘Superflat’ artistic style. The auction also features other notable artists of the movement: Hiro Ando, Chiho Aoshima, Yoshitomo Nara, Aya Takano, Hideaki Kawashima, Shintaro Miyake, and Ai Yamaguchi, among others. The sale offers paintings, original works on paper, sculptures, and prints and multiples, with estimates ranging from US$1,000 to over 55,000.

Paintings and original drawings are an important facet of the sale. With an estimate of US$12,000–15,000, Yoshitomo Nara’s authenticated Untitled (Who Snatched the Babies?) is an acrylic, colored pencil, and pen work on paper depicting a young girl flying a plane while seemingly unaware that bombs are falling to the ground as she pilots. Also included is acclaimed artist Hideaki Kawashima (Japanese, b.1969), renowned for his decades-long series of serene figurative compositions that feature amorphous feminine figures with large doe-eyes and painted lips who float against monochromatic backgrounds. Glance (2004), with an estimate of US$6,000–8,000 has a brilliant, magenta background that adds dynamism and energy to the ethereal central figure.

Sculptures featured in the sale include Sleepless Night Sitting (2007), an iconic mixed-media sculpture by Nara. With an estimate of US$25,000–35,000, and from an edition of 300, Nara depicts one of his beloved cartoonish figures in grey flannel wearing a drowsy expression, seated on a wooden bench unable to sleep, as the title underscores. SamuraiCat (Pink Pigment), (2006) is a much sought-after cast resin and vivid pink pigment sculpture in the round by celebrated artist Hiro Ando (Japanese, b.1973), that transforms a docile cat into a fierce Samurai warrior in the artist’s iconic Neo-Pop manner. A deliberate nod to the artist Yves Klein’s iconic use of pink pigment, this is the only edition from eight to come to auction, accompanied by the Plexiglas box designed by the artist to both protect and isolate the work, and is offered with an estimate of US$7,000–9,000.

Prints and multiples are also featured in the sale, with a diverse selection of works by Chiho Aoshima, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Aya Takano, and Ai Yamaguchi. A stand out work is Murakami’s rare Dumb Compass (2009), a gold leaf and silkscreen print. From an edition of 30, and with an estimate of US$12,000–15,000, this is the only known edition of this print to come to international auction.

Superflat: Murakami and Friends will be live on artnet Auctions until January 23, 2014.