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  • Provenance

    Galerie Piece Unique, Paris
    Private Collection
    Christie's, Paris, June 10, 2016, lot 237A
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Yayoi Kusama
    Born 1929, Matsumoto, Japan
    1948–1949 Kyōto City Specialist School of Arts, Kyoto, Japan

    Selected museum exhibitions: Yayoi Kusama Museum, Tokyo (2017); National Art Center, Tokyo (2017); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2015); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (2015); Whitney Museum of American Art (2012); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2011); National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (2004); Le Consortium, Dijon (2000); Museum of Modern Art (1998); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1998); Venice Biennale (1992); Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1989); American Center, Tokyo (1980)
    Selected honors: 18th Praemium Imperiale Award for painting (2006); Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts, Woman’s Caucus for Art (2006); Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France (2003); Asahi Prize (2001)
    Selected public collections: Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art

    At age 90, Yayoi Kusama continues to be active and prolific as an artist, creating paintings, sculptures, and installations that inspire audiences worldwide. Butterfly, 2001, displays many of the themes that have animated her oeuvre since the 1960s. Kusama took a shaped vanity mirror, surrounded it with red, pod-like protuberances that she constructed with fabric and painted butterflies on its surface. Her use of a mirror creates a frame for the viewer that changes each time it is viewed. Suggesting vanitas and self-realization, the artist connects this work to the cycles of life, death, and metamorphosis.

  • Artist Biography

    Yayoi Kusama

    Japanese • 1929

    Named "the world's most popular artist" in 2015, it's not hard to see why Yayoi Kusama continues to dazzle contemporary art audiences globally. From her signature polka dots—"fabulous," she calls them—to her mirror-and-light Infinity Rooms, Kusama's multi-dimensional practice of making art elevates the experience of immersion. To neatly pin an artistic movement onto Kusama would be for naught: She melds and transcends the aesthetics and theories of many late twentieth century movements, including Pop Art and Minimalism, without ever taking a singular path. 

    As an octogenarian who still lives—somewhat famously—in a psychiatric institution in Tokyo and steadfastly paints in her immaculate studio every day, Kusama honed her punchy cosmic style in New York City in the 1960s. During this period, she staged avant-garde happenings, which eventually thrust her onto the international stage with a series of groundbreaking exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in the 1980s and the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993. She continues to churn out paintings and installations at inspiring speed, exhibiting internationally in nearly every corner of the globe, and maintains a commanding presence on the primary market and at auction. 

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signed, titled and dated “Butterfly 2001 Yayoi Kusama” on the reverse
stuffed sewn synthetic fabric, feathers, iron, mirror and wood
28 3/8 x 24 x 14 1/8 in. (72.1 x 61 x 35.9 cm.)
Executed in 2001, this work is accompanied by a registration card issued by the Yayoi Kusama Studio, under registration number 2810.

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NOMEN: American Women Artists from 1945 to Today

New York Selling Exhibition 19 June - 3 August 2019