Japanese Artist – Yoshitomo Nara’s cartoon girl painting sells for $25 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong


Amidst the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, a group of Asia’s elite decided to ring it in with some love over art and wine instead. We’re talking about Sotheby’s recent sale that took place at the city convention center this Saturday. A stand out amongst several remarkable pieces at the auction was a painting by revered Japanese Artist – Yoshitomo Nara that went down for a record-breaking $25 million. Yes, that’s right!

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#GirlPower ✌🏼 Records continue to fall in our Hong Kong salesroom, with Yoshitomo Nara’s monumental ‘Knife Behind Back’ selling for HK$196 million / US$24.9 million, and Liu Ye’s ‘Smoke’ achieving HK$52 million / US$6.7 million tonight – both marking new auction highs for the artists. ‘Knife Behind Back’ represents the largest canvas by Nara ever to appear at auction, which he created in 2000 after his return to Japan following 12 years in Germany. Ye’s ‘Smoke’ from 2001-02 led a prestigious collection of contemporary Chinese art, assembled by the visionary Belgian collector Baroness Gillion Crowet after an official sovereign visit to China in 2004. Our autumn sales series continues in #HongKong through 8 October – stay tuned for more updates! #SothebysContemporary #YoshitomoNara #LiuYe #ContemporaryArt

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Nara, who is known for his depictions of manga-esque children and animals created in the same super flat style has sold several of his works for astounding figures in the past. However, the Sotheby’s sale was probably the artist’s most remarkable feats in a long time. Titled – Knife Behind Back (2000), the painting showcases an angry-eyed female subject clad in a red peter-pan collard dress. It measures seven by seven feet wide and defines clean, simple art at its best. The piece also ranks at the most expensive ever to be sold by the artist at auction.

Nara’s previous record for his most-priced sale belonged to the ‘Sleepless Night (Cat)’ (1999) which snapped $4.45 million USD at Christie’s Hong Kong last year. The painting recently sold at Sotheby’s was completed by the artist after he returned to Japan after 12 years in Germany. It was eyed by six bidders in total and was sold within as less at 10 minutes at the auction. Well, good times for Nara (if not for Hong Kong) are here after all!

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