Javier Calleja - 24/7: Online Auction Hong Kong Tuesday, July 20, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Catalogue Essay

    "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. 


    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. Prefacio (‘Preface’) and Indice (‘Index’) pay tribute to the world of books, of the  “magical moment” of “that instant of introspection which proceeds to the creative process itself.” i 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, culminating in 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 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

    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. ii The artist has also been the subject of solo exhibitions at AISHONANZUKA in Hong Kong (2019) and Almine Rech Gallery in Shanghai (2021).



    i As quoted from the press release for Hong Kong, AISHONANZUKA, Javier Calleja: I did, I do, I will do, 15 November - 21 December 2019, online

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

    • Provenance

      Galeria Yusto/Giner, Marbella
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Marbella, Galeria Yusto/Giner, Km 0, 14 December 2013 - 10 February 2014



acrylic on paper
sheet 140 x 93.9 cm. (55 1/8 x 36 7/8 in.)
frame 153.9 x 105.4 cm. (60 5/8 x 41 1/2 in.)

Painted in 2013, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist and issued by Galeria Yusto/Giner.

Full Cataloguing

HK$300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for HK$604,800

Contact Specialist

Hin Hin Wong
Associate Specialist, 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
+852 2318 2013
[email protected]

24/7: Online Auction

Online Auction 21 - 30 July 2021