TOKYO—Shinwa Art Auction’s contemporary art sale on Nov. 17 realized ¥460.73 million ($4.2 million), up considerably from the sale total of ¥182.91 million ($1.5 million) last April (ANL, 6/12/07). Of 258 lots on offer, 251, or 97.3 percent, found buyers.
The top prices were given for two Lee U-fan paintings: From Line, 1978, in oil and stone pigment on canvas, which fetched ¥30 million, or $272,700 (estimate: ¥30/50 million); and With Winds, 1989, which took ¥22 million (estimate: ¥20/30 million).
Works by Yayoi Kusama fared well, with several selling above estimate: Infinity Net, a 1990 acrylic on canvas, won ¥15 million ($136,350), more than double the ¥6 million high estimate; Pumpkin (F), a 1992 acrylic on canvas, fetched ¥13 million, or $118,170 (estimate: ¥4/6 million); and Lunar Eclipse, 1988, brought ¥12.5 million, or $113,625 (estimate: ¥3/4 million).
Demand for the works of artist Tetsuya Ishida (1973-2005), continues to rise. An untitled, 1998 acrylic on paper earned ¥12 million ($109,080), three times the estimated ¥3/5 million. Tatsuo Miyajima’s Region No. 42355—No. 42369, a light-emitting diode, aluminum panel, made ¥11 million, or $100,000 (estimate: ¥7/9 million).
Yoshitomo Nara also attracted attention with works such as Mumps No. 2, 1996, an acrylic on paper that sold for ¥6.2 million, or $56,400 (estimate: ¥3/4 million); and an untitled, 1995 acrylic on cotton that brought ¥6 million, or $54,500 (estimate: ¥6/8 million). Prices do not include buyer’s premium.
At past auctions of contemporary art, Japanese buyers have accounted for about 60 percent of the bidders, Shinwa reports. At this sale, however, approximately 49 percent hailed from Asian countries (except Japan); about 10 percent from Europe and America. Bidders from outside Japan were in the majority.
Shinwa further notes an increase in the number of registered bidders: from 250 in last spring’s sale to about 360.