Warhol's and Utrillo’s works sold in Japan

л. Shiraga. Tomomori Jusui. 1973. Oil on canvas. Lot sold for YEN 26 572 500. Modern & Contemporary Art. Mallet Japan. Tokyo, July 25

For a long time the Japan antiquarian market was a questionable phenomenon. Small local auctions and some influential collectors (the Tokyo financier Ryoei Saito bought the Van Gogh’s the Portrait of Doctor Gashe). That was all to boast of for the Country of a Rising Sun.

During the last years the situation has changed. Nowadays one predicts the Japanese auctions to be on a world scene. The reason for this is the appearance of several promising auction houses headed by Mallet Japan. Established in 2005 Mallet today is among the most important representatives of the Far East antiquarian market. Within three years the auction house has been representing interesting collections, showing great results and surprisingly “European” organization of business.

On July, 25 Mallet held evening sales of Modern and Contemporary Art in Tokyo on which works by such artists as Andy Warhol, Marc Chagall and Moris Utrillo were presented.

Meanwhile top lots of auction were two works by the Japanese painter Kazuo Shiraga, Vaisravana (1974) and Tomomori Jusui (1973) sold for YEN 34 307 500 and YEN 26 572 500. Shiraga is one of the leaders of the Japanese avant-guard of the second half of the ии century. He created impressive, expressional abstract painting. The career of the artist began in 1950s in progressive Gutai art group − association of the Japanese artists of the specific (adversarial abstract) arts. Artists of the group experimented in performance, after that they were engaged in kinetic art. Strong emotional pressure and a visual expression are typical for their works. Shiraga being the representative of the Gutai movement practiced an original creative method which said: «To cut a canvas, to tear it, to throw various substances ». It is necessary to notice that few works by Kazuo Shiraga and his adherents are saved up to now. As they accepted the significance of the creative act as it was they often destroyed a canvas immediately after finishing a work. Painting by Kazuo Shiraga is rather popular among compatriots. Both canvases were sold with a price exceeding the estimate in twice.

Picture by the French painter Moris Utrillo, Rue de Banlieue (1937) estimated at YEN 15 000 000-20 000 000 was to be the main auction “hit”. However, it was sold for YEN 16 627 500 that hardly exceeded the estimate. Work is dated to the late period of Utrillo’s creativity when the artist was at the height of recognition and fame. This picture has no typical geometrization and planeness of volumes. Utrillo created a delicate, atmospheric, impressionist landscape.

Fourth place in the list of top lots is taken by a still-life Chrysanthemum (1990) by modern French artist Bernard Baffet (1928−1999). Auctioneers were interested in the picture. It was sold for YEN 9 997 500 having exceeded the estimate a little. Still-life by postimpressionist Morris Vlamink the Vase with Flowers was sold by auction for YEN 7 566 500.

Small (91,4 x 91,4) Andy Warhol’s serigraphy Flowers (1970) was sold for YEN
4 693 500 (estimate: YEN 3 000 000-4 000 000) which showed again the constant popularity of the king of the American pop art.

In total Mallet Japan sold 159 works. Among the leaders of the auctions were such artists as André Brasilier, Hoan Miro and Marc Chagall.

Summing up, it can be said that the past auction sales are on the same level as of celebrated European houses. The level of the exposed lots, high percent of sales and numerous increases of an estimate allow assuming that the world antiquarian market will have a new player in the near future.

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Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 2:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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