Phillips has unveiled a work by Yoshitomo Nara that will go up for sale in Asia this summer. Titled Missing in Action (2000), it will hit the block during the house’s live-streamed 20th century and contemporary art evening sale. Staged jointly with the Chinese auction house Poly Auction, it is scheduled to take place across sale centers in both Hong Kong and Beijing on June 8.
Coming to sale with an estimate upon request, a representative for Phillips said they expect the work to rank among the most expensive works by Nara ever sold at auction. The top three prices for Nara range between $12.4 million and $25 million.
Known his recurring manga-style character, Nara created Missing in Action (2000) the same year as his solo museum debut in the U.S., which traveled to the the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Santa Monica Museum of Art. Nara is currently the subject of a traveling retrospective that recently opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as solo exhibitions at the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts in Taiwan and Dallas Contemporary in Texas.
“Missing in Action is a prominent example of Nara’s huge body of works portraying children often depicted in solitary landscapes or against void-like monochrome backdrops,” Charlotte Raybaud, Phillips’s Hong Kong head of 20th century and contemporary art evening sale, said in a statement.
Nara is a staple at auctions in Asia and the leading Japanese artist by market share across the globe. Last year, Phillips sold Nara’s Hothouse Doll (1995), featuring the same young protagonist for $13.9 million, against an estimate of $6 million. The result made it the second-most expensive work by Nara ever to be sold at auction.
Missing in Action last sold during a Phillips London evening sale in 2015 from the estate of Miami-based collector Frederic Brandt. The current Asia-based seller purchased it for $2.8 million, minting a new auction record for Nara at the time.