KAWS - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Thursday, December 3, 2020 | Phillips

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  • KAWS is regarded as the most relevant and outstanding artist of his generation. By looking at an overview of the artist’s work will reveal that he has broken the barrier between the traditional fine arts and commercial culture, thus providing the entire field of art with a new set of possibilities. KAWS stated in an interview, “Whereas in the 1990s, it was put to me that you got to be commercial or you can be a fine artist. It was very different roads you need to choose and lanes you need to stay within in order to be one or the other. And now I feel like a lot of those barriers have been knocked down and I am very fortunate because it is something I’ve been doing for a little longer.” KAWS draws inspiration from popular culture, including popular brand advertisements and cartoon characters.  In which he reconstructs with a sense of humor to combine consumer culture and art while dismantling the hierarchy of fine art. His philosophy of art has become an unstoppable trend spreading across the world, enabling the world of contemporary art to enter a new era of “interdisciplinary” collaboration.


    KAWS’ signature graffiti tag on a MetLife billboard, 1995.
    KAWS’ signature graffiti tag on a MetLife billboard, 1995.

    KAWS’ earliest exploration of Peanuts was leaving his signature ‘KAWS’ on a 1995 MetLife billboard. Since then, has been incorporating the memorable popular culture characters from Peanuts into his work.  The artist said, “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’ UNTITLED (MBFS4) features the protagonist of Peanuts, whose eyes have been playfully replaced by the artist’s signature “X” motif. The fun replacement captures the viewer’s attention and addresses the rebellious nature of the present era. Notably, the irregular canvas cut of figure’s shape, combined with the visual expression of simple black lines highlights KAWS’ unique interpretation of pop art and popular culture.


    Charles M. Schulz drawing of Snoopy
    Charles M. Schulz drawing of Snoopy
    • Provenance

      Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • 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.  

      View More Works



signed and dated 'KAWS.. 15' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
152.4 x 101.6 cm. (60 x 40 in.)
Painted in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,800,000 - 2,500,000 

Sold for HK$2,520,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

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

Hong Kong Auction 4 December 2020