Lot Details

"Pumpkin" (1997) is an exciting and sublime painting on canvas by avant-garde Japanese female artist Yayoi Kusama (Japan, b. 1929). This painting measures approx. 6 x 9 inches, is professionally framed to roughly 14 x 17 inches and in excellent condition. This work is accompanied by the formal Kusama Certificate of Authenticity (see images) and is offered here for the first time at international auction. Pumpkins have been one of Kusama’s preferred subjects since the 1980s, recurring with such frequency as to function as a kind of avatar for the artist. In describing their personal significance, she has remained characteristically elusive, saying only, "I like the essential repetitive form of pumpkins…They're like everything else I do but at the same time very humorous.”
In this painting, Kusama employs two of her other signature forms, dots and the 'infinity net'. Kusama has used dots to a variety of effects in her work, employing them for their cosmic symbolism, their modeling capabilities, and the overall cathartic experience found in the obsessive mark making. Kusama applies black dots in various sizes to a brilliant yellow pumpkin to suggest formal and tonal gradation, the visual effects of the radiating dots enhance the visual three-dimensional illusion in market contrast to her inherently two-dimensional 'infinity-net' pattern painted in yellow and black pattern which obsessively fills the space around the pumpkin.

Yayoi Kusama is best known for her works featuring repeating motifs and psychedelic imagery that evoke themes of psychology, feminism, obsession, sex, creation, destruction, and intense self-reflection. Kusama was born in Matsumoto City and began painting at the age of ten, as a means of escaping a childhood of neglect and expressing her early experiences with hallucinogenic visions. These apparitions consisted of dots and patterns enveloping her surroundings, suggesting issues of mental illness which have continued to strongly influence her work. For her oeuvre, Kusama has received numerous awards and honors, including the 1996 International Art Critic Association Prize, the 2000 Education Minister’s Art Encouragement Prize & Foreign Minister’s Commendations, and the 2003 Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Her work has been widely exhibited in major museums and galleries throughout the world, and has recently been the subject of solo shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2012); Opera Gallery, Hong Kong, China (2012); Tate Modern, London, England (2012); the National Museum of Art Osaka, Osaka, Japan (2012); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2011); Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia (2011); and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (2011). Selected Public Collections:Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan
Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea

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  • Present Collection, USA
  • Ships From: California, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 6 x 9 in. (15.24 x 22.86 cm.)
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