510
510
Yoshitomo Nara
ATTENTION
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Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
900,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,520,000 USD
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510
Yoshitomo Nara
ATTENTION
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
900,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,520,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York

Yoshitomo Nara
B. 1959
ATTENTION
signed with the artist's initials and dated 2003 on the reverse
pastel, acrylic and colored pencil on paper
58 3/8 by 53 3/4 in. 148.3 by 136.5 cm.
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Provenance

Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Acquired from the above by the present owner 

Literature

Yoshitomo Nara, Yoshitomo Nara: The Complete Works, Paintings, Sculptures, Editions, Photographs, Vol. 2, Tokyo 2011, no. D-2003-028, p. 202, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

In Yoshitomo Nara’s Attention from 2003, a hazel-eyed girl quietly, yet fiercely, demands our attention. Dressed in a simple blue frock and sporting shortly-cropped bangs, this small girl is the iconic embodiment of Nara’s career-long engagement with themes of solitary boldness and innocence that define the essence of childhood. Perfected over two decades of diligent reprisals, it is through the subject of the small girl that Nara has captivated the imaginations and gained the respect of museums and collectors worldwide. For this, he is indisputably recognized as Japan’s most internationally acclaimed living painter.

In Attention, Nara places his viewer in a penetratingly cerebral encounter with a figure that embodies the very essence of childhood by conflating two important archetypes—the rebellious youth and the lonely child—in order to emphasize both naivete and mischief. In the very best examples of Nara’s oeuvre it is the figure’s eyes that, as the psychological centers of engagement, form the crux of subtle narratives. With her penetrating eyes, the resolute yet lonesome child in Attention captures the fascinating tension between childhood and adolescence, innocence and brimming mischievousness. First introduced in the 1990s, Nara’s conceptualization of the wide-eyed child became a perfected paradigm by the early 2000s, reflecting the disaffection of Japanese youth and capturing the imagination of viewers worldwide. In the present work, the combination of Nara’s delicate brushwork and intricate pastel passages typifies the artist’s technical bravura in bringing to life a character whose intrigue not only catches our attention but continues to haunt our imagination.

Following his education at the University of Tokyo and Aichi University, Nara took up temporary residence in Germany to study at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1988. Nara’s homecoming to Japan in 2000 mirrored a subtle stylistic variation, which welcomed the disintegration of sharp lines and inclusion of warmth in his palette with pastel colors. Enchantingly enigmatic, the figure of the little girl is reflective of iterations in Japanese visual culture: the comics and graphic novels of Manga and its video form, anime, and the absorption of Pop culture all powerfully colliding with Nara’s unique mindscape. Ultimately, the mischievous gaze and defiant twist of the little girl’s hand from view makes her the singular most iconic figure in Nara’s overall output.

Attention acts as a powerful point of entry for psychological engagement whereby viewers can both identify with the imagination of children and engage in a complex process of their own self-examination. The young girl is not only a significant contribution to the re-evaluation of figurative painting in the 21st century, but also a window for viewers to excavate their memories to evoke the immediacy of children’s feelings that have been long forgotten. The installation of Yoshitomo Nara’s solo exhibition Thinker at The Pace Gallery, New York in the spring of 2017 further demonstrates his ongoing fascination with the contradictory expressions of innocence and experience, anger and compassion, life in this current world and the afterlife—as splendidly captured by the single figure of the little girl who quietly, yet firmly returns our gaze.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York