Yayoi Kusama - Editions & Works on Paper New York Monday, October 24, 2022 | Phillips
  • "It seems pumpkins do not inspire much respect, but I was enchanted by their charming and winsome form. What appealed to me most was the pumpkin’s generous unpretentiousness."
    —Yayoi Kusama

    Considered Japan’s most successful living artist, it is the humble pumpkin that has become a symbol of Yayoi Kusama’s worldwide acclaim. Kusama has returned to the imagery of a pumpkin over six decades, reimagining its form in paintings, prints, immersive installations, and sculptures. Kusama’s first encounter with a pumpkin occurred when visiting the seed-harvesting fields near her childhood home in Matsumoto, Japan with her grandfather. While her childhood was not a happy one, pumpkins have always been a cheerful image for the artist. The first pumpkin appeared in the artist’s work in 1946 in the Nihonga style, a traditional form of painting made in accordance with Japanese artistic conventions, techniques, and materials. However, Kusama’s artistic style changed dramatically when she left Japan for New York in the late 1950s, evolving to the bright, colorful, and all-encompassing compositions that are instantly recognizable today.


    Over the years Kusama has experimented with scale. At her installation at the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993, she dressed in a matching polka-dot ensemble and gave away tiny yellow and black polka-dotted pumpkins to anyone who entered her exhibition. It was simultaneously a gift acknowledging her rise to art world success and an incredibly smart marketing tool - taking her work beyond the site-specific installation to the wider global audience. When she began making public sculptures in the mid-1990s, the scale of Kusama’s pumpkins increased exponentially. From the six-foot tall yellow Pumpkin installed on Japan’s Naoshima Island in 1994 to her Dancing Pumpkin from 2020, installed temporarily in the New York Botanical Garden, these sculptures delight viewers and invite us to imagine the world through Kusama’s fantastical eyes.


    Cast in bronze, Kusama’s Pumpkin multiple from 1998 is the perfect marriage of her unique artistic sensibilities and love for the natural world. Often remarking that plants and flowers would come alive and speak to her, this multiple’s rich patina ages gracefully and adds a dimensionality to the perfectly imperfect organic form. Solid and compact, this work is a grounding force in an artist oeuvre that often consisted of the artist overcoming her personal fears through obsessive creation. Kusama worked with the Fonderie Monnaie De Paris to produce the multiple. Founded in 1775 to produce the alloys for the manufacturing of coins and medals, the foundry transitioned to working with artists in 1973 and is one of the last active foundries in the heart of Paris. Over the years, she continues to celebrate the pumpkin and treat them as unique – their dimpled skin and bulbous curves only accentuating the beauty of this unpretentious gourd.

    • Provenance

      Christie's, South Kensington, Prints & Multiples, July 1, 2009, lot 185
      Obelisk Gallery, Inc., Boston, 2010
      Phillips, New York, Editions & Works on Paper, April 23, 2019, lot 86
      Acquired from the above 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

Property from an Important Private American Collection



Cast bronze multiple with patina.
11 x 11 x 10 in. (27.9 x 27.9 x 25.4 cm)
Incised with signature, date and stamp numbered 31/100 on the underside, with the Fonderie Monnaie De Paris stamp.

Full Cataloguing

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $151,200

Contact Specialist


212 940 1220

Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 24 - 26 October 2022