Yayoi Kusamas 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 Kusamas 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 artists 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 Kusamas 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 Kusamas 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 Kusamas 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.