Japan: Art and Its Essence

Japan: Art and Its Essence

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 29. Takamatsu Jiro (1936-1998) | Photograph of Photograph .

Property from an Important Private Collection

Takamatsu Jiro (1936-1998) | Photograph of Photograph

Lot Closed

July 26, 01:29 PM GMT


15,000 - 20,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from an Important Private Collection 

Takamatsu Jiro (1936-1998)

Photograph of Photograph 

gelatin silver print, signed, titled, dated and annotated A.P. and Creative Cooperation Hiromi Watanabe in Japanese and/or Roman script in ink to verso, printed title and dated 1973 on a label from the Estate of Jiro Takamatsu affixed to the reverse of the frame

50.8 x 40 cm., 20 x 15¾ in. 

Estate of Jiro Takamatsu

Yumiko Chiba Associates, Tokyo

Private Collection, London

A black and white photograph of a motorway flyover lies slightly askew on a tactile and worn wood surface. Arising from the lower right corner, a harsh glare partially obscures an office block as if enveloped in a hazy mist.

An investigation of the dialogue between photography and memory, the black and white images comprising the series Photograph of Photograph were carried out between 1972-73. Takamatsu hired a photographer to capture pictures from his family album, often against everyday surfaces, such as various walls or the floor in his home and study. The quotidian subject matter is often obfuscated by a glare, reflection, shadow or the hands of someone holding the photograph.

Michelle Jubin writes: ‘In Photograph of Photograph, the modern world is dissonant, fragmented, and often unable to be apprehended by the viewer as the photograph-within-a-photograph buckles or reflects glare and thus obstructs its subject. The images act as the meeting point of heterogeneous worlds, where the fixed environment depicted in the first photograph joins the equally static world of the second rephotographed image, and the viewer contemplates both in a surreal gaze-within-a-gaze in a physical, third realm. Part ritualistic reenactment of personal history and part blurred recollection, the series reveals the separation between the sign of the photograph and its signifier, the mimetic function of the image and its possible historical and personal reinterpretations.’1

1. https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/26669

For a similar example of a photograph from this series in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, accession number 2014.8, go to:


For another similar example in the collection of the TATE, London, reference number P80218, go to:


For a different example in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, object number 377.2010, go to: