KAWS - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    'I think Peanuts is part of being a kid in America. Whether it’s the Great Pumpkin on Halloween or just seeing a different cartoon in the paper, it’s sort of around everywhere.' - KAWS

    As one of the most prolific and innovative artists of our present age, KAWS has experienced a meteoritic ascent to international acclaim for his legendary practice that has avidly caught the attention of prestigious institutions, collectors, and industry giants worldwide, including a devoted following of over 3 million people on Instagram. Having vehemently established his position in the global art historical canon, the American artist is widely celebrated for exploring the visual language of mass media and popular culture in his oeuvre, building a unique visual lexicon through his playful and subversive compositions that has become singular in its own right.

    UNTITLED (MBFI10) (detail), 2014
    Drawing from the nostalgic potency cartoon heroes, KAWS appropriates characters from popular culture, inventively modifying their relatable and timeless appearances with grungy, brushstroke-free line and a monochromatic palette. In this case, UNTITLED (MBFI10) depicts Charlie Brown, the endearing protagonist of Charles M. Schultz’s comic strip Peanuts, which ran from 1950 to 2000 and amassed a readership of 355 million in 75 countries. Having expressed how he ‘found it weird how infatuated a cartoon could become in people’s lives, the impact it could have’ (KAWS, quoted in Murray Healy, ‘Graffiti Artist Turned Gallery Artist Turned Art Toy Maker: KAWS’, Pop, February 2007, pp. 260-265, online), KAWS employs the pervasive universality of Charlie Brown’s image to perfectly embody the notions so central to the artist’s exploration.

    Charles M. Schulz
    Signed drawing of Charlie Brown
    Reworking the quintessential cartoon imagery with his distinctive signifiers and trademarks, including giving it the signature KAWS treatment of crossed-out eyes that draw to mind the depiction of cartoon figures after they have drunk from a vial of poison, KAWS assigns a new personality to the character that is so well-known and loved. As his meticulously executed, shaped canvas asks viewers to contemplate the dialogue between high-brow and low-brow art, and its relationship with popular culture, KAWS claims the image of Charlie Brown as his own, instantly elevating his cartoon status to that of fine art.

  • Artist Biography


    American • 1974

    To understand the work of KAWS is to understand his roots in the skateboard and graffiti crews of New York City. Brian Donnelly chose KAWS as his moniker to tag city streets beginning in the 1990s, and quickly became a celebrated standout in the scene. Having swapped spray paint for explorations in fine art spanning sculpture, painting and collage, KAWS has maintained a fascination with classic cartoons, including Garfield, SpongeBob SquarePants and The Simpsons, and reconfigured familiar subjects into a world of fantasy. 

    Perhaps he is most known for his larger-than-life fiberglass sculptures that supplant the body of Mickey Mouse onto KAWS' own imagined creatures, often with 'x'-ed out eyes or ultra-animated features. However, KAWS also works frequently in neon and vivid paint, adding animation and depth to contemporary paintings filled with approachable imagination. There is mass appeal to KAWS, who exhibits globally and most frequently in Asia, Europe and the United States.  

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Property from a Distinguished Private American Collection



signed and dated 'KAWS.. 14' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
152.4 x 76.2 cm. (60 x 30 in.)
Painted in 2014.

HK$2,000,000 - 3,000,000 

Sold for HK$2,500,000

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 9 July 2020