Yoshitomo Nara - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 19, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Drawing upon his western influences from his time studying art at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, and his love of western music, Yoshitomo Nara has created works that have universal appeal. Born in 1959 in Aomori Prefecture, Japan, Nara’s childhood was impacted by the aftermath of war and economic recovery. Music and album covers inspired and provided a therapeutic outlet for Nara from an early age. When he was nine, Nara began listening to Folk music legends like Fleetwood Mack, Joni Mitchell and Barry McGuire, later leading to a profound love and expansive collection of rock, blues, soul, and punk records.

    "Album covers were the first things that spoke to me as works of visual art. For me, having been brought up in a rural area where there were no museums, this was my very first art experience."
    —Yoshitomo Nara
    A source of escape, records transported Nara into visions and daydreams. “When you are a kid, you are too young to know you are lonely, sad, upset,” said Nara, “…now I know I was.” His young characters are reflective of this notion, each image a glimpse into another facet of his internal psyche. Explosive, punk energy tinged with a melodic, contemplative demeanor; Nara’s subjects embody a fascination with mood distilled from music culture.

    "After contemplative folk singers taught me about deep empathy," said Nara, "the punk rockers schooled me in explosive expression."
    —Yoshitomo Nara
    Rendered with attitude, Yoshitomo Nara’s famous ‘femme fatales’ draw us in. Formally uncomplicated, Nara's characters engage the viewer with their playful, and at times abject depictions of the human condition; solemn-faced and annoyed. They stare out, wide-eyed and most often not at us. Forms of self-expression, deprecation, and proclamation, Nara captivates the viewer with a singular figure, often accompanied by text or objects, or surrounded by empty space indicative of a void. Creating his own unique style by centralizing the figure of a child as his subject, Nara allows for child-like associations.


    Printed by master printer Yasu Shibata at the Pace Editions Workshop, this complete set of ten ukiyo-e woodcuts effortlessly presents Nara’s signature imagery through a labor-intensive printmaking process familiar to Nara and Japanese heritage. Referencing his nimble drawings, often done on brown paper or cardboard, these woodcuts embody the same immediacy, but more refined, elevating his practice while imbuing the images with the same lively energy.

    • Provenance

      Pace Prints, New York

    • Literature

      Noriko Miyamura & Shinko Suzuki E-2010-003 - E-2020-012

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including: Don't Wanna Cry; Gypsy Song; Hateful Christmas; I Don't Want to Grow Up; Life Is Only One; My Little Treasure; Poindexter; Pissed Off; S.O.S.; and Walk On

Property of an Esteemed American Collector


Untitled (M. & S. E-2010-003 - E-2010-012)

The complete set of 10 Ukiyo-e woodcuts in colors, on Japanese paper, the full sheets.
all S. 16 1/2 x 11 5/8 in. (41.9 x 29.5 cm)
All signed, dated and numbered 'PP 2/4' in pencil (printer's proofs, the edition was 50 and 12 artist's proofs), co-published by Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, and Pace Editions, Inc., New York, all framed.

Full Cataloguing

$400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for $504,000

Contact Specialist


212 940 1220

Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 19 - 21 April 2022