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Renoir Paintings Fetch Top Prices at Shinwa Sale

Shinwa Art Auction’s June 4 sale of modern art was held to commemorate its stock listing on the Japanese stock market on April 5. (Shinwa is the only Japanese auction house with a listed stock.)

TOKYO—Shinwa Art Auction’s June 4 sale of modern art was held to commemorate its stock listing on the Japanese stock market on April 5. (Shinwa is the only Japanese auction house with a listed stock.)

The sale was much larger than the firm’s usual modern art sales: Two lots fetched more than ¥100 million ($935,000) each, and another 25 lots made more than ¥10 million ($94,000) each.

The lot attracting most attention was a pair of 1895 oil paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Étude de femme and La femme au panier de fleurs, which brought ¥310 million, or $2.8 million (estimate: ¥300/450 million), the auction house’s second-highest sale price to date. According to Shinwa, the work had been owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, since 1964. The winning bidder was the Wood One Museum of Art, Hiroshima.

Coming in second was Ikuo Hirayama’s Nihonga (traditional Japanese painting), Marco Polo Toho-kenbun-ko, 1976, which realized ¥210 million, or $1.96 million (estimate: ¥130/200 million).

Interest in the sale was driven in part by the contemporary art on offer. Andy Warhol’s Myth, a set of ten silk-screen prints, 1981, took ¥22 million ($205,915), well above the high estimate of ¥20 million. Jasper Johns’ Black and White Numerals, 1968, a set of 10 lithographs, made ¥12 million, or $112,317 (estimate: ¥10/15 million).

The sale fetched a total of ¥1.5 billion ($13.6 million), the third-highest total since the firm’s inception. A total of 95, or 80.5 percent, of 118 lots found buyers. Among other works that sold well were: Sosuke Morimoto’s 1993 Yoga (a style of oil painting by Japanese artists) Ouga-Rafu ’93 (estimate: ¥30/40 million); and Tsuguharu Fujita’s 1959 Yoga Neko to Shojo (estimate: ¥25/35 million).These pictures brought ¥33 million ($308,873) each. Gyoshu Hayami’s Nihonga Boke-Kenshun, 1932, fetched ¥56 million ($524,000), bettering its ¥50 million high estimate. (Prices do not include the buyer’s premium.)

SUKI NAKAMICHI

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