Javier Calleja - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Sunday, November 28, 2021 | Phillips

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  • "Sometimes, you are painting, and your mind, your emotions, are all in the painting. This is the moment when you can find something new. It’s an emotional
    moment." — Javier Calleja

    Spanish artist Javier Calleja has garnered increasing international attention over the past few years for his signature sculptures, paintings and drawings combining whimsy with satirical flair. With their disproportionately large heads, round, luminous eyes and tongue-in-cheek slogans, Calleja’s childishly cute subjects impart a playful, nostalgic innocence that has captured the imagination of the contemporary art world.


     The artist in his studio


    Born and based in the Spanish port city of Málaga, the birthplace of fellow Spanish artist Pablo
    Picasso, Calleja’s earliest influences of his art were childhood comics, cartoons and toys. The
    remarkably tactile finish of Calleja’s works, ranging from the velvety blush to the glassy deep eyes of his little children, is the result of Calleja's long-term experimentation across a wide range of techniques and media, with his impressive body of works ranging from tiny drawings to large-scale installations.


    Calleja’s quixotic characters have drawn comparisons with the creations of superstar Japanese
    artist Yoshitomo Nara, whose sweetly sinister children and animals convey a comical melancholy
    that reflects the Nara’s lonely childhood and challenging experiences in foreign lands. But Calleja’s characters are unabashedly joyful embodiments of his childhood influences and the artist’s enchanting imagination:


    “Growing up in the 70s and 80s, my biggest influences were cartoons and comics. In particular Mazinger Z cartoons and Francisco Ibáñez Talavera’s comics. Inspired by those two, I started drawing as a child, so my work developed from there and still carries some of those characteristics.” – Javier Calleja

    Cartoon by Francisco Ibáñez Talavera
    ©  Francisco Ibáñez Talavera 


    Calleja has been the subject of highly acclaimed solo exhibitions over the past few years, including his solo show Clouds Through the Window (2019) at Galerie Zink in Germany (which was coincidentally an early champion of Nara’s work) which was described as Calleja’s ‘strongest
    showcase to date’, with a salon-style presentation of his paintings incorporating oversized classical frames conceived by the artist.i The artist has also been the subject of solo exhibitions at AISHONANZUKA in Hong Kong (2019) and Almine Rech Gallery in Shanghai (2021).






    Sasha Bogojev, ‘A New Perspective: Javier Calleja Channels the Viewer in "Clouds Through the Window"’, Juxtapoz, 10 June 2019, online

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Javier Calleja

      Javier Calleja (b. 1971) is a contemporary Spanish artist living and working in
      Malaga, Spain. Calleja is most known for his figurative style of cartoonish, doe-eyed
      characters with exaggerated features. His style is influenced by the toys and comics
      from his 70s and 80s upbringing. Calleja’s characters are often accompanied by text
      that contrasts the innocent and adolescent looking facial expressions of the
      characters represented in the compositions. Calleja works in painting, sculpture,
      and works on paper.

      Calleja holds a BFA from Granada University in Spain. His works have been exhibited worldwide and he is currently represented by Almine Rech.

      View More Works


Take On Me

signed, titled and dated '2017 "TAKE ON ME" Javier Calleja' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
162 x 130 cm. (63 3/4 x 51 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2017.

Full Cataloguing

HK$2,000,000 - 3,000,000 

Sold for HK$5,040,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 29 November 2021