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Mod/Contemporary Art Brings Ever-Rising Returns at Shinwa

Modern and contemporary art started the year on a strong note at two Tokyo auctions in late January. A Shinwa Art Auction sale of modern art on Jan. 27 realized ¥886.74 million ($7.3 million), up from the November total of ¥822.7 million ($7 million). Of the 205 lots on offer, 176, or 85.85 percent, found

TOKYO—Modern and contemporary art started the year on a strong note at two Tokyo auctions in late January. A Shinwa Art Auction sale of modern art on Jan. 27 realized ¥886.74 million ($7.3 million), up from the November total of ¥822.7 million ($7 million). Of the 205 lots on offer, 176, or 85.85 percent, found buyers.

Yoga, or oil painting by Japanese artists, led the way. The costliest lot was Tsuguharu Fujita’s Madonna, 1962, a pair of oil paintings that sold for ¥100 million, or $822,800 (estimate: ¥100/150 million). Yuzo Saeki’s Kobe Landscape, circa 1927, fetched ¥39 million, or $320,900 (estimate: ¥25/35 million); and Fujita’s Girl with Cat, 1956, realized ¥38 million (estimate: ¥28/35 million).

Among the top lots in Western art: Ben Nicholson’s Still Life, 1945, took ¥65 million ($534,800), or about double the estimated ¥25/35 million; Maurice de Vlaminck’s Fleurs, ¥9.4 million, or $77,300 (estimate: ¥8/11million); as well as Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot’s Fontainebleau, le chaos, ca. 1860-65, ¥9 million, or $74,000 (estimate: ¥9/12 million).

Among the top lots in Nihonga, or traditional Japanese painting: Shiko Munakata’s Two Buddhist Saints and Ten Great Disciples of the Buddha, a pair of six-panel, woodcut screens, 1963, produced ¥50 million, or $411,400 (estimate: ¥50/70 million); and Matazo Kayama’s Snowy Morning won ¥29 million, or $238,600 (estimate: ¥30/40 million).

On Jan. 26, the day before Shinwa’s auction, Mallet Japan’s evening sale of modern and contemporary art tallied ¥101.56 million ($835,680), down slightly from the previous figure of ¥128.43 million ($1 million) at an Oct. 27 sale. A total of 95, or 76.6 percent, of 124 lots were sold.

The top lot of the sale was Yoshitomo Nara’s This is how it feels when your word means nothing at all/ Boy, 1995, an acrylic on canvas that sold for ¥9 million, or $74,000 (estimate: ¥7/9 million). Andy Warhol’s Mickey Mouse, 1981, a silkscreen realized ¥7.5 million, or $61,700 (estimate: ¥7/8 million). Prices do not include buyer’s premium.

SUKI NAKAMICHI

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