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Cosmic Kusama offered at Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Sale in London
Yayoi Kusama’s No A.A., estimated at £250,000-350,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Yayoi Kusama’s No A.A., from the collection of ICA co-founder Sir Herbert Read, is being offered for the first time at auction at Bonhams Post-War and Contemporary sale on 7 March 2018 at the New Bond Street saleroom. The work is estimated at £250,000-350,000.

Ralph Taylor, Global Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art said: ‘Yayoi Kusama is arguably the most important living female artist in the world and her work is highly prized by collectors and institutions alike. This mesmerising painting was executed during Kusama’s first year in the West and, when combined with the impeccable provenance and the fact that this is the first time it has ever been offered for sale, this must surely be considered one of the artist’s most significant early works ever to be offered at auction.’

Born in 1929 in Matsumato City, Japan, Kusama studied at the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts in 1948 where she developed a foundation in the traditional techniques of Japanese scroll painting. Not long afterwards she began to develop her own, avant-garde practice in the 1950s – experimenting with surfaces in crossing mediums, colour and objects in highly perceptual works.

Completed in 1958, No A.A. coincided with Kusama’s move to New York where she began broadening her practice to include happenings – performances across the city that engaged the female artist in the heart of contemporary, political discourse. Fittingly, the work is being offered from the Herbert Read Collection (1893-1968), the late art historian who was a tireless champion and defender of Avant-Garde artists amidst prevailing orthodoxies at the time.

No A.A. plays with a central theme across Kusama’s work – infinite and cosmic depictions of space. In the 1960s, this would be sealed as her trademark with Infinity Mirror rooms – kaleidoscopic environments that place the viewer in an illusion of unending space of colour and reflection. These mirrored, reflective and highly colourful spaces have been the subject of many international retrospectives of Kusama’s work in cities such as London, Singapore and Washington D.C.

Other highlights from the sale include:

• Leon Kossoff (British, born 1926) Nude on a Red Bed No. 3 1968 is estimated at £300,000-500,000.

• Anish Kapoor (British, born 1954) Untitled 2014 is estimated at £300,000-400,000

• Frank Auerbach (British, born 1931) Reclining Head of E.O.W. II 1969 is estimated at £280,000-350,000.

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