Hisao Domoto - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Tuesday, November 10, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Umi Gallery, Japan

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born to a family of artists in Kyoto, Hisao Domoto established himself as a Nihon-ga (Japanese-style painting) artist in his early 20s. While studying in Paris in the 1950s he soon became associated with Art Informel, a movement led by critic and dealer Michel Tapié. Domoto’s affiliation with Tapié’s circle ended in 1962 as he came to realize the impossibility of the movement’s objective – the complete rejection of past tradition. In Domoto’s case, this was a denial of Nihon-ga. Domoto’s unique stance within the context of Art Informel is visible in the present work, as it was executed while he was still part of that movement in 1960. Never one to simply follow the group’s aesthetic principle of denying the past, Domoto instead pursued his way of merging the Western tradition of oil painting and the Eastern sensibility toward subdued lyrical abstraction. The stark contrast between light and dark in the present work creates a push-and-pull visual effect in space, while the gentle curve dividing the picture plane into two invokes the cosmic relationship of the moon and space or, more metaphysically, a link between ying and yang.

    Just as he walked away from the circle of Art Informel, Domoto famously turned down an invitation to join the Gutai Art Association from its founder Jiro Yoshihara (1905–1972). Despite the enormous role he played in the encounter of East and West in the postwar art, Domoto remained an independent artist, forever a maverick in both Japan and Europe.



oil on canvas
47 1/4 x 23 1/2 in. (120 x 59.7 cm)
Signed, dated and inscribed in English and Japanese "“DomoTo 1960-22, JAPON 堂本尚郎 [Domoto Hisao]"on the reverse.

$80,000 - 100,000 

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head Day Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 10 November 2015 11am