Yayoi Kusama - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, March 30, 2023 | Phillips
  • “I believe that eyes are very important motifs. That’s something that can discern the peace and love.”
    — Yayoi Kusama
    Executed in 2004, The Girls is a vibrant example of Japanese art world phenomenon Yayoi Kusama’s celebrated visual language that speaks to both her ongoing exploration into the concept of the infinite, as well as the power of femininity—a focus which has long been central to her art and continues to be one of her most central motifs. Masterfully rendered in acrylic and felt pen on canvas, the work features a captivating canary-yellow background onto which Kusama has drawn intricate black line with a doodle-like aesthetic. Interconnected female faces cover the painting, which have been detailed with blocks of ruby red that highlight the muses’ large eyes and lips, and long strands of beaded earrings.


    As the various elements come together, they create a vivid image that celebrates womanhood, as indicted by its title, The Girls. Just as the bold pattern and colour can be seen as illustrating female strength, the intertwining shapes and line capture the both the interconnectedness and resilience of femininity; reminding us that we are stronger together than apart.


    Kusama’s largest retrospective in Asia, Yayoi Kusma: 1945 to Now, is currently on view at the M+ Museum in Hong Kong until 14 May 2023. The exhibition features over 200 works across various international collections, the M+ collection as well as the artist’s own collection. On show in the final gallery space are a number of artworks from Kusama’s mature period, which are comparable to The Girls.


    Phillips recently set the artist’s top result at auction, in New York in May 2022, with the sale of Untitled (Nets) (1969) which hammered down for a remarkable 10,496,000 USD with buyer’s premium. Indicative of the ongoing strength of Kusama’s market, this overtook her previous top result at auction, which had been set in Hong Kong in December 2021.

    • Provenance

      Private Collection
      K Auction, Seoul, 10 December 2008, lot 75
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Yayoi Kusama


      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 nonagenarian who still lives in Tokyo and steadfastly paints in her 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.

      View More Works


The Girls

signed and dated ‘2004 Yayoi Kusama’ lower left
acrylic and felt pen on canvas
38.2 x 45.5 cm. (15 x 17 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2004, this work is accompanied by a registration card issued by the artist's studio.

Full Cataloguing

HK$800,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for HK$1,778,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 31 March 2023