14 September 2020

Phillips Announces a Seminal Yoshitomo Nara Canvas to Highlight Their 20th Century & Contemporary Art and Design Hong Kong November Sales in Collaboration with Poly Auction


Featured on the Cover of Yoshitomo Nara’s Catalogue Raisonné


Expected to Achieve One of the Highest Ever Prices for a Work by the Artist at Auction



Yoshitomo Nara

HotHouse Doll, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 119.8 x 109.9 cm. Estimate Upon Requet


HONG KONG – 14 September 2020 –Phillips will offer Yoshitomo Nara’s Hothouse Doll as a highlight of the recently announced Phillips in Association with Poly 20th Century & Contemporary Art and Design Hong Kong Sales in November. The historically important Hothouse Doll was exhibited in numerous institutional exhibitions and appeared as the cover of the artist’s catalogue raisonné, Yoshitomo Nara Complete Works 1984–2010, published in 2011. In particular, it was featured in the ‘Major Works’ section of this publication, considered the most extensive literature and survey of Nara’s work ever published to date. Its highlight as the front cover of this monumental publication as well as having been handpicked by the artist to be included in a curated section highlight its eminence in the artist’s oeuvre.


Isaure de Viel Castel, Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Phillips Hong Kong, said, “Hothouse Doll is one of the finest examples of Yoshitomo Nara’s distinctive and touching portrayal of childhood, drawing from memories forged during those crucial years in Germany. The painting features a full body portrait of a little girl with a broody, mischievous sulk, along with the artist’s signature wide-open almond-shaped eyes, highlighting Nara’s fixation with the darker side of childhood innocence. The blue baby doll dress depicted in the present work is rare in the artist’s oeuvre, a motif that is only scattered sporadically throughout the 1990s. Phillips is honoured to be entrusted with the sale of this painting, which reappears at auction for the first time after 12 years having remained in a private collection, and we look forward to presenting it alongside other exciting and in-demand works in the groundbreaking collaborative sales this season co-hosted by Poly.” 


Hothouse Doll was executed in 1995 – a particularly momentous year for Yoshitomo Nara, marked especially by the publication of his first ever book of paintings. In 1995, he also had his first show with Blum & Poe Gallery, which started representing him internationally in the same year, as well as a breakthrough solo exhibition, In the Deepest Puddle, at SCAI the Bathhouse in Tokyo. Since then, Nara’s position as one of the most acclaimed living Japanese artists has steadily solidified. The layered background in the present work showcases the artist’s unique way of building impasto to create soft and sensual backdrops, exemplifying a painterly technique that he gradually developed and refined in the 1990s. During his residence in Germany in the 1990s, the loneliness of living abroad catapulted Nara back to the days of acute loneliness in his childhood, and his profound sense of alienation manifested itself in his iconic portraits of solitary children, fueling refinement and development of his signature style.


Hothouse Doll is the first highlight of Phillips in Association with Poly 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 3 December. In this collaboration, Phillips and Poly Auction will work together to broaden their global reach, offering more collectors and art enthusiasts the unique opportunity to participate in sales of the very best 20th Century and Contemporary Art. Additional highlights of the sales will be announced in the coming weeks.




Phillips in Association with Poly 20th Century & Contemporary Art and Design Hong Kong Sales

Evening Sale: Thursday, 3 December | Day Sale: Friday, 4 December

Location: JW Marriott, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong



HONG KONG – Ingrid Hsu, Public Relations Director, Phillips Asia  [email protected]   +852 2318 2043



Phillips is a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century art and design. With dedicated expertise in the areas of 20th Century and Contemporary Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewelry, Phillips offers professional services and advice on all aspects of collecting. Auctions and exhibitions are held at salerooms in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, while clients are further served through representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips also offers an online auction platform accessible anywhere in the world.  In addition to providing selling and buying opportunities through auction, Phillips brokers private sales and offers assistance with appraisals, valuations, and other financial services. Visit www.phillips.com for further information.


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