Galerie van Dieten-d'Eendt, Amsterdam Private Collection (acquired from the above) Christie's London, 23 June 2006, lot 297 Acquired by the present owner from the above sale
Yoshitomo Nara: The Complete Works 1984 – 2010, Volume 2, Bijutsu Shuppan Sha, Tokyo, Japan, 2011, p. 105
Untitled features the famous sleeping dog from Nara Yoshitomo’s cast of characters. A recurring figure in the artist’s oeuvre, the whimsical dog appears often in Nara’s creations and has been rendered in life-size sculpture form as well as being featured as the hero of Nara’s first illustrated book for children, The Lonesome Puppy. The adorably illustrated book tells the story of a puppy so large that no one sees him – until a determined little girl climbs high enough to meet him and become his friend. The present lot recalls not only this sweet tale but also encapsulates Nara’s epochal and universally resonant oeuvre.
Nara was born in 1959 in Hirosaki in the Aomori Prefecture. His formative years were marked—if not marred—by intense feelings of isolation: born to emotionally distant workaholic parents in post-war Japan and growing up as the youngest of three sons by a drastic age difference, Nara’s childhood was, for the most part, spent alone. The artist once admitted in an interview: “When you are a kid, you are too young to know you are lonely, sad, and upset… Now I know I was.” Transforming his intense feelings into art, Nara immortalized his loneliness into endearing creations that quickly gained an explosive worldwide cult following. Whether portraying young solitary children or animals, Nara’s creations merge anime, Pop Art and punk rock, combining mischief and innocence to convey a beguiling sugary sweetness on the surface that melts to reveal darker angsts. While immediately reminiscent of Pop and exuding an undeniable Lichtenstein-esque vibe, the artist’s reductive figurations draw also on Modernism’s sign-like shorthand language of images to leaving endless space for fantasy for the child as well as the adult viewer.
This work is in very good condition overall. Pinholes are found at the corners and occasionally along edges. Visible only upon close inspection, pinpoint spots of accretion is found to be scarcely scattered. Uneven distribution of paint is consistent with the artist's method of execution. Please note that this work was examined within its frame. Framed under glass. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."