Yayoi Kusama - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Tuesday, November 10, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Zoe Dusanne Gallery, Seattle
    Marshall and Helen Hatch Collection
    Christie's, New York, First Open: Post-War and Contemporary Art, March 10, 2011, lot 167
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Seattle, Zoe Dusanne Gallery, Yayoi Kusama Paintings: Watercolors and Pastels, December 1957, no. 18

  • Catalogue Essay

    One day while in a bookshop in her hometown of Matsumoto in 1955, Yayoi Kusama found a book of paintings by Georgia O’Keefe. Kusama had long dreamed of leaving her homeland for the United States, and after seeing O’Keefe’s paintings decided to take a train to Tokyo to visit the American embassy. There she leafed through their copy of Who’s Who and located O’Keefe’s address. The two quickly became pen pals, and soon Kusama found the courage to make her journey across the Pacific. Kusama landed in America on November 18, 1957 with sixty silk kimonos and 2,000 drawings and paintings to her name. Seattle was the very first city she stepped foot in, where she was introduced to the gallerist Zoe Dusanne. Dusanne gave Kusama her first solo show that same year. It featured twenty-six watercolors and pastels, including the present work, Rock Spirit.

  • 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 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


Rock Spirit

ink and gouache on paper
10 3/4 x 8 in. (27.3 x 20.3 cm)
Signed and dated "Yayoi Kusama 1953" lower left.
This work is registered by the Yayoi Kusama Studio.

$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $62,500

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head Day Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 10 November 2015 11am