Shadow No. 1442
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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 1997

  • Catalogue Essay

    A striking example of the Japanese artist’s iconic Shadow paintings, Jiro Takamatsu’s Shadow No. 1442 from 1997 uniquely depicts not one, but two ghostly subjects. With soft, hazy contours, the artist has given us just enough of a visual implication that his two subjects are engaged in conversation, while leaving enough ambiguity to allow the viewer to create their own imagined dialogue. The leftmost figure stands in profile, and while there is no anatomical indication of his gaze, it appears that he is looking directly at the figure next to him in a possible embrace. Against a bright white background in typical trompe l’oeil fashion, a characteristic of the artist’s celebrated Shadow series, the gray characters in Shadow No. 1442 exemplify Takamatsu’s ability to evoke a sense of nostalgia with a complete lack of pictorial clarity.

    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 large-scale, 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. As the curator Yuri Matsuda said of the renowned series, the encounter of one’s real shadow with Takamatsu’s painted ones can be best summarized as “the peter pan point”, reminding the viewer that, while not real, there is an implied and mysterious possibility of who these figures could represent. A late and 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.

208

Shadow No. 1442

signed, titled and erroneously dated "JIRO TAKAMATSU 1994 No. 1442" on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
89 1/2 x 71 5/8 in. (227.3 x 181.8 cm.)
Painted in 1997.

Estimate
$150,000 - 200,000 

sold for $298,000

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

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 17 May 2017