• ARTnewsletter Archive

    Contemporary Art on the Rise at Japanese Auctions

    A contemporary art sale held by Shinwa Art Auction on April 14 realized ¥182.91 million ($1.5 million), up from the total of the previous, Dec. 2 sale of ¥129.14 million, or $1.1 million (ANL, 1/23/07, p. 7-8). Of the 120 lots on offer, 114, or 95 percent, found takers, most of them above their estimates.

    TOKYO—A contemporary art sale held by Shinwa Art Auction on April 14 realized ¥182.91 million ($1.5 million), up from the total of the previous, Dec. 2 sale of ¥129.14 million, or $1.1 million (ANL, 1/23/07, p. 7-8). Of the 120 lots on offer, 114, or 95 percent, found takers, most of them above their estimates.

    The highest price was given for Hisashi Tenmyouya’s Nue, 2004, an acrylic on board that fetched ¥16.5 million ($137,700), about triple the estimated ¥4/6 million. Four of the top lots were by Yoshitomo Nara, including: an untitled 1997 acrylic on paper that sold for ¥14 million, or $116,000 (estimate: ¥7/10 million); Missing in Action 3, 2002, an acrylic on paper that took ¥9.2 million, or $76,700 (estimate: ¥6/8 million); Pinguin, 1994, an acrylic on cotton that sold for ¥7.6 million, or $63,400 (estimate: ¥5/7 million); and Slash! With a KNIFE, 1997, in colored pencil on paper, which realized ¥6.8 million, or $56,700 (estimate: ¥4/6 million). Takanobu Kobayashi’s Stray Dog, 1996, in oil on cotton and panel, realized ¥12 million ($100,100), about six times the low estimate of ¥2 million. Cai Guo-Qiang’s Fetus movement II: Project for Extraterrestrials No.9, in gunpowder and ink on paper, sold for ¥7.2 million or $60,000 (estimate: ¥5.5/6.5 million). Tetsuya Ishida’s oil Wild, 1999, fell for ¥6.6 million ($55,000), more than ten times the estimated ¥500,000/700,000. Takashi Murakami’s Rachael (large-brown), 1992, took ¥5.4 million, or $45,000 (estimate: ¥1.5/2 million). And both Jasper Johns’ lithograph Scent, 1975-76 (estimate: ¥3/5 million), and Richard Diebenkorn’s Blue, 1984, a woodcut print (estimate: ¥5/8 million), made ¥5.2 million or $43,400.

    Later, on April 26, Mallet Japan’s evening sale of modern and contemporary art realized ¥156.39 million ($1.3 million), up from the previous sale total of ¥101.56 million ($835,700) on Jan. 26. Of the 139 lots, 71 percent, or 98 lots found buyers. The top lot was Andy Warhol’s Troy (Frei & Prinz 247), 1962, a silkscreen, which sold for ¥14.5 million, or $121,400 (estimate: ¥12/15 million). Ting Shao Kuang’s Road of Beauty, 1987, in pigment on paper, fetched ¥12 million ($100,500), far above the estimated ¥3/4 million. Georges Rouault’s oil painting La passion du Christ realized ¥10 million, or $83,700 (estimate: ¥10/13 million). A Henri Matisse aquatint, Marie-Jose en robe jaune, 1950, took in ¥8.5 million ($71,200), slightly higher than the estimated ¥5/7 million. (Prices do not include the buyer’s premium.)

    SUKI NAKAMICHI