Let the year of Yayoi Kasuma begin

Yayoi Kasuma, Mississippi River, 1960

Yayoi Kasuma, Mississippi River, 1960

 

London’s Tate Modern is preparing to host its year-long immersive installation of Yayoi Kasuma’s Infinity Mirror Rooms after it was postponed due to the pandemic. And no one is more excited than us.

With the on-sale date yet to be confirmed though, we’re thrilled that Bonhams New York is offering some of the earliest recognised works by one of our – and the world’s – favourite artists in an upcoming single-owner collection sale.

Helping to whet our appetite for all things Kusama, the Kusama: The Collection of the late Dr Teruo Hirose sale comprises the rarest group of Kusama works from the late 1950s and 1960 to ever come to auction.

Gifted by Kusuma herself to her lifelong friend and doctor whom she consulted in her early years in New York in the 1960s, when she was a struggling young artist in need of medical aid, the 12 May sale includes three paintings and eight works on paper, which have never been exhibited in public.

 

Dr Teruo Hirose and Yayoi Kusama

Dr Teruo Hirose and Yayoi Kusama

 

The latter were painted by Kusama in her twenties before she arrived in the US in 1957 and lay the aesthetic groundwork for her career to follow. The works show the genesis of her Infinity Nets, as well as her signature polka dots and flower imagery. 

Two of Kusama’s River paintings – Mississippi River and Hudson River – which are exceptionally rare due to the use of the colour red (almost all other works by Kusama during this period are white) will also be offered, each with an estimate of £2,300,000-3,900,000.

Yayoi Kasuma, Untitled, c. 1965

Yayoi Kasuma, Untitled, c. 1960. Estimate: £1,900,000 - 2,700,000

 

Amy Thompson, Bonhams post-war and contemporary specialist, said: “This is an exceptional collection of extremely rare early works by Yayoi Kusama. Not only do these works have an incredible provenance, but they are also extremely significant in Kusama’s oeuvre, expressing many early features and themes which she would continue to explore and develop throughout her career. The two River paintings are early examples of her famous Infinity Net motif, in a striking and unusual red, which is rare for this period. Moreover, her Untitled painting demonstrates Kusama’s experimentation during the 1960s, while also foreshadowing her recognisable mirror boxes – where images grow and radiate from a single point.”

Selected works will be displayed at Bonhams Hong Kong from 7-22 April, and the entire collection will be available to view in New York from 30 April-12 May. The sale will take place on 12 May in New York.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms is expected to open at Tate Modern in the spring.

 

Yayoi Kasuma, Flower Petal, 1953

Yayoi Kasuma, Flower Petal, 1953. Estimate: £35,000-50,000.

   

Yayoi Kasuma, Flower 52, 1954

Yayoi Kasuma, Flower 52, 1954

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