Yayoi Kusama - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    RS&A Ltd, London

  • Exhibited

    Australia, Bendigo Art Gallery, The Art of Chess, October 20, 2010 - January 30, 2011; Australia, UQ Art Museum, February 26 - April 24, 2011; London, Saatchi Gallery,
    September 8 - October 3, 2012 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    C. Milliard, “Checkmate: Saatchi Gallery Unveils Extraordinary Collection of Artistdesigned Chessboards,” ARTINFO, London, September 7, 2012 (illustrated)
    A. Abrams, “Check Mates; The Art of Chess at the Saatchi Gallery,” The New York Times Magazine, September 17, 2012 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Marcel Duchamp once said that “while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists” and the present lot, Pumpkin Chess Set, 2003, by Yayoi Kusama, explores the connection between creativity and this classic game of strategy. Additionally, Kusama’s inclusion of pumpkins in the set is compellingly paired with her signature dots, mimicking the surface texture of a pumpkin while also incorporating the aesthetic tools and concepts from her Infnity Nets series. The work is comprised of two parts; the signature pumpkin lies sliced open, the top lying to the side to reveal the tactical game at the center. The chess pieces remain in their starting positions, simply waiting to be moved by the two adversaries who dare occupy the custom seats on each side. The chess pieces – one side hand painted gold, the other red and white – captures Kusama’s most iconic motif. The dots electrify the work with a pulsating energy; threatening to start the game themselves if no contenders appear.

  • 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. 

    View More Works


Pumpkin Chess Set

hand painted porcelain, leather and wood display
overall: 29 x 43 x 43 in. (73.7 x 109.2 x 109.2 cm)
Each chess piece signed “Yayoi Kusama” on the underside; further stamped by the German Porcelain factory Villeroy & Boch. This work is number five from an edition of seven plus four artist's proofs. The work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $398,500

Contemporary Art Day Sale

16 November 2012
New York