Yoshitomo Nara - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Sunday, June 6, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Today I said, 'I really don't care.' Yesterday, in a similar situation, I said, 'It's none of your business?' Before that, it was 'What the hell are you trying to say?' And before that, 'Leave me alone' ...Sometimes I spit out words like 'Shit!' 'Damn!' 'Jesus!' The air vibrates and roars. If you listen closely, you can hear flames of anger. It is like a dragon belching out fire. Whenever I spit out these words, I feel a little better, and it helps a little, if just a little, to put out the fire.”Yoshitomo Nara

    Phillips pleased to present the complete set of twelve etchings from Yoshitomo Nara’s very first series of etchings, executed early in the artist’s burgeoning career. Inspired by traditional Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, Nara made the original etching plates himself, unlike for later editioned prints. This very limited edition of 35 sets includes seven sets of artist’s proofs, this lot being the artist’s seventh and final proof set for the series.


    Each of the twelve works features Nara’s iconic subjects – large-eyed, pastel-hued children and animals are brought to life with deceptively simple and stylised lines. Seemingly innocent upon first glance, a closer look reveals their darker side, with their amusingly accusatory, irritable, or comically dumbfounded expressions paired alongside titles derived from the artist’s tongue-in-cheek catchphrases.


    The intriguing mixture of vulnerability, rebellion and eternal hopefulness within Nara’s artworks has gained him a cult following around the world, and this lot is an excellent example of how his unique and universally relatable artistic language strikes a resounding chord with people of all ages and backgrounds.


    Yoshitomo Nara
    The artist with his work


    • Provenance

      Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      Noriko Miyamura and Shinko Suzuki, eds., Yoshitomo Nara: The Complete Works Volume 1: Paintings, Sculptures, Editions, Photographs 1984-2010, Tokyo, 2011, nos. E-2002-001, E-2002-002, E-2002-003, E-2002-004, E-2002-005, E-2002-006, E-2002-007, E-2002-008, E-2002-010, E-2002-013, E-2002-014, E-2002-015, E-2002-016, pp. 310-311 (illustrated)


Twelve works: (i) Y.N. (Self-Portrait); (ii) Green Eyes; (iii) Night Walker; (iv) On the F-word; (v) Rainy Day; (vi) Become to Thinker; (vii) Stay Good; (viii) Straight Jacket; (ix) Spockie; (x) Haze Day; (xi) Running Nose Brothers; (xii) Top of the World

each signed, dated and numbered 'A.P 7/7 Nara [in Japanese] 2002’ lower edge
etching, aquatint and drypoint
(i)-(iii), (vi)-(x) 48.8 x 38 cm. (19 1/4 x 14 7/8 in.)
(iv)-(v) 71.8 x 56.5 cm. (28 1/4 x 22 1/4 in.)
(xi) 56.5 x 65.5 cm. (22 1/4 x 25 3/4 in.)
(xii) 56.5 x 31 cm. (22 1/4 x 12 1/4 in.)

Executed in 2002, this work is artist proof 7 from an edition of 35 plus 7 artist’s proofs.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,200,000 - 2,200,000 

Sold for HK$2,016,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 7 June 2021