Jonas Wood - Editions, Photographs and Design Hong Kong Friday, June 14, 2024 | Phillips
  • “Repainting a Matisse painting, or a Picasso painting - all these things just seem natural to me. I’m not trying to remake those things, I’m trying to make them in my own way because I’m so turned on by them.”
    — Jonas Wood
    Jonas Wood grew up surrounded by the greats. His artistically inclined family counted works by Matisse, Picasso, and Calder amongst their impressive personal art collection. Interacting with such prolific and influential artists in the intimacy of his home, Wood developed an attachment to their aesthetic elements, which are reflected in many of his later works. Drawing on the imagery of these Modern masters and experiences from his own life, Wood assembles photocollages which become the basis for his paintings and prints. Printmaking has become increasingly entwined with the artist’s practice and in order to maximise his flexibility and freedom to create within the medium, Wood established his own studio, Wood Kusaka Studios, in collaboration with master printer, Jacob Samuel.


    Even closer to home, Wood’s incorporation of ceramic vessels into his body of work stems from his collaborative working relationship with his wife, ceramic artist Shio Kusaka. “When I met my wife, Shio Kusaka, who is a ceramicist, I started looking at vessels. I became interested in the Greek pots. Like basketball cards, they have a shape and a form, and they have images that are very flat, graphic, and simple. Basically, there are cartoons on the sides of the pots that tell stories.” Recalling this interpretation, Snoopy Pot features Snoopy and Charlie Brown from the Peanuts comics, unifying these memorable characters with ancient pottery through the graphic narrative that they convey.


    Matisse Pot 4 expands upon the artist’s initial Matisse Pots series published between 2017-2018, which presented interior scenes appropriated from Henri Matisse’s instantly recognisable paintings, unexpectedly framed within two-dimensional ceramics. Drawing inspiration from Matisse’s oeuvre, Wood embraces fauvist colour and fluid lines in the fourth iteration of the series to animate the artist’s vibrant interior scenes and the presence of a female muse, bridging the generational divide between the two artists. Inspired by the imagery and motifs of  Matisse, the evocative nature of the interior makes it easy to image this scene effortlessly fitting into the roster of early twentieth century canvases painted by Matisse in the South of France. Along the base of the vessel is yet another nod to the late artist. A black book with flowing cursive script spells out “Matisse Verve,” a reference to the modernist Parisian art magazine in circulation between 1937 and 1960. The inaugural issue from 1937 was published with cover artwork from Matisse, and Verve Vol. IX No. 35/36 paid homage to the artist in 1958 following his death in 1954 by titling the issue The Last Works of Henri Matisse and featuring 40 lithographs of Matisse’s work, along with text by Pierre Reverdy and Georges Duthuit, both prominent French art critics of the time.


    Left: Terracotta amphora (jar) signed by Andokides, ca. 540 BCE, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Christos G. Bastis, in honor of Carlos A. Picón, 1999;
    Right: Keisai Eisen, Koi, 1842, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1917

    In Fish Pot, Wood revisits koi fish and their habitats, which have become a reoccurring pictorial theme throughout his work. Most notably, they featured in his series of a monumental paintings created from 2014-2015, some of which were featured in his 2015 joint show with his wife Shio Kusaka at KARMA in New York. Rendered with Wood’s signature flatness and playful abstraction, the koi fish and fellow aquatic creatures float through the fantastical ceramic habitat, the artist playing with the visual distortion of a glass fish bowl. Much like Japanese woodblock artists of the Edo period, Wood captures the streamlined swishing movement of these fish in within the confines of the medium, illuminating his ability to transport traditional genres of art into a contemporary dialogue, playfully challenging the canonical separations of medium and artistic movements.

    • Provenance

      Gagosian Gallery, Paris

    • Literature

      Gagosian Gallery, New York, Jonas Wood: Prints 2, pp. 114-119


Fish Pot; Matisse Pot 4; and Snoopy Pot

The complete set of three screenprints in colours, on Rising Museum Board, with full margins.
all I. various sizes
all S. 86.4 x 81.3 cm (34 x 32 in.)

All signed with initials, dated and numbered 11/50 in pencil (there were also 10, 20 and 10 artist's proofs respectively), published by WKS Editions, Los Angeles (with their blindstamp), all unframed.

Full Cataloguing

HK$400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for HK$635,000

Contact Specialist

Nick Wilson
Senior Director, Head of Editions, Photographs and Design, Asia
+852 2318 2022

Robert Kennan
Head of Editions, Europe

Editions, Photographs and Design

Hong Kong Auction 14 June 2024