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Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner
Jiro Takamatsu’s Shadow No. 1459 from 1997 is one of the last of the artist’s iconic Shadow paintings, created just a year prior to his death. Against a bright white background in typical trompe l’oeil fashion, an outstretched hand rendered in gray acrylic extends inward from the left of the canvas. Takamatsu leaves enough ambiguity for us to question whether the hand is reaching out in embrace or attached to a figure who is running away, exemplifying the artist’s ability to evoke a true sense of enigma.
As a key member of the Mona-Ha movement and founder of the minimalist art collective Hi Red Center in post-war Tokyo, Takamatsu was influential in breaking the traditional boundaries between high art and everyday objects, working across the disciplines of painting, sculpture and photography. First begun in 1964, Takamatsu’s Shadow series has become the artist’s most well-known body of work. In their life-size format, the artist’s shadows become staged figments of the walls on which they hang, reminding viewers of their originators’ implied presence, which is confined to the boundaries of the canvas. A stellar example from the Shadow series, the present lot serves as a reminder of the fleeting nature of passersby and the enigma that surrounds their pasts and futures, moving from one place to the next.
New York Auction 19 September 2017