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Yoshitomo
Nara

Discover art for sale. Buy and sell prints & editions online by Post-War & Contemporary artist Yoshitomo Nara. The contemporary Japanese artist is known for his emotional and complex portraits of children.

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Biography

Perhaps Japan’s best known living artist, Yoshitomo Nara’s iconic, seemingly simple, paintings, sculptures and drawings are instantly recognisable. His seemingly simple paintings, sculptures and drawings are instantly recognisable, taking influence from cartoons, music and his own life. Best known are perhaps his paintings of children; sometimes sad, sometimes sinister, these figures enjoy a global cult popularity and following, and reflective market pricing.

Knife Behind Back by Yoshitomo Nara

Image © Sotheby's / Knife Behind Back © Yoshitomo Nara 2000

1. £20.2M for Yoshitomo Nara's Knife Behind Back

Setting a record for the most expensive work by Japanese Pop Artist Yoshitomo Nara, in October 2019 Knife Behind Back (2000) sold for an astounding HK$195,696,000 (roughly equivalent to £20,229,095) at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.

A standout example of Nara’s work, the large-scale piece depicts one of the artist’s signature, cartoon-like figures – a small girl with intense, piercing eyes – as she stares back towards the viewer. With an unmistakable expression of anger on her face, the young girl is rendered in a muted colour palette of red, brown, green, and cream tones.

Establishing Nara as the most expensive Japanese artist of all time, the sale saw Knife Behind Back smash its sale record by almost 5 times.

Nice to See you again by Yoshitomo Nara

Image © Sotheby's / Nice to See You Again ©Yoshitomo Nara 1996

2. £11.4M for Yoshitomo Nara's Nice To See You Again

Significantly outperforming its pre-sale estimate of US$8,000,000-$12,000,000, Nice To See You Again realised an eye-watering US$15,430,800 at auction at Sotheby’s New York in November 2021. Executed in 1996 by Japanese Pop Art icon Yoshitomo Nara, the painting, which measures 180 by 150 cm, depicts one of the artist’s signature motifs: a young girl with short brown hair and glaring, elliptical green eyes. The second most expensive work by the artist, Nice To See You Again serves as visual and material evidence of Nara’s status as the highest-value Japanese artist of all time.

Missing in Action by Yoshitomo Nara

Image © Christies 's / Missing in Action © Yoshitomo Nara 2000

3. £11.3M for Yoshitomo Nara's Missing In Action

June of 2021 saw the sale of Missing In Action, a 2000 painting and standout example of Japanese artist and contemporary Pop Art icon Yoshitomo Nara’s signature subject: the lonesome child. Realising a strong HK$123,725,000 at Hong Kong’s Phillips & Poly auction house, the work is a particularly rare component of Nara’s œuvre; standing barefoot and defiant, its subject matter – a young girl with short brown hair - shows signs of confidence and self-reliance, her trademark facial expression traced with a single line of red paint.

Berlin Barack, Room 1 by Yoshitomo Nara

Image © Christie's / Berlin Barack, Room 1 © Yoshitomo Nara 2007

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