Hiroshi Sugito is one of the most recognized contemporary Japanese artists. Sugito’s unique expression, characterized by both abstract and concrete recurring motifs, often stylized beyond immediate recognition, is well received both among art lovers and among collectors. Although his name is not on the list of top five most expensive artists from Japan, Sugito’s artworks are regularly being sold at major auction houses. Born in 1970, he has been recognized as a part of the Tokyo-Pop movement. He specializes in Nihonga painting (literally "Japanese painting"). However, instead of the traditional scenic imagery of Nihonga, his paintings focus on abstract and recognizable elements. Oftentimes his artwork consists of dreams, altered realities and childlike fantasies. They consist of both abstract and concrete elements and are also influenced by both Eastern and Western paintings. Hiroshi Sugito art is also known for its use of translucent layers—an effect he achieves by layering acrylic paint and dry pigment—lack of linear perspective, and generous use of empty space. Finally, when it comes to the position of Hiroshi Sugito on art market, he is very well accepted. So, scroll down, and see what the most expensive Hiroshi Sugito art pieces are!
A lot of Hiroshi Sugito imagery has a sense of “Kawaii”—which means "cute" in Japanese—and intertwines this idea with a sense of weirdness or eerie displacement. As the artist says, I start moving my brush like walking into the woods, away from everything, and I want words and meanings to lose their power and just fade away.
This piece was sold for $36,000 at Phillips, De Pury & Luxembourg New York in 2006. For more information about the sale, click here!
Featured Image: Hiroshi Sugito - Crossing Overhead, detail
Though he is deeply affected by traditions of western painting, Hiroshi Sugito is strongly influenced by his training in traditional Japanese painting techniques. This is very visible in his Mountain Wall.
The painting was put on sale in 2006, at Phillips, De Pury & Luxembourg New York, and was sold for $44,000. Click here for more information!
Featured Image: Hiroshi Sugito - Mountain Wall, detail
Changing Rooms is a beautiful painting that was put on sale at Christie’s New York, in November 2005. It was estimated at $35,000-$45,000, but it exceeded its expectations, and was sold for $50,000.
For more info on the sale, click here!
Featured Image: Hiroshi Sugito - Changing Rooms, detail
Recurring motifs in Sugito’s paintings are curtains, referring to a predominant metaphor of Western painting. A variation of the window motif can be found in the fragile grids of horizontal and vertical lines, which run across the entire picture plane, resembling blinds. Viewed from a distance they read as geometric abstractions.
Passing Over the Flowers is sold for $55,800 at Christie’s London in 2006. For more info on the sale, click here!
Featured Image: Hiroshi Sugito - Passing Over the Flowers, detail
The Pink Smoke is a painting that is characterized by a typical artistic approach of Hiroshi Sugito. The piece was put on sale at Sotheby’s London in 2006, and was estimated at $36,900-$55,300 before finally being sold for $59,000.
More info on the artwork here!
Featured Image: Hiroshi Sugito - The Pink Smoke, detail
Like in many other pieces, the artist intelligently plays with the opposite compositional concerns of geometric abstraction and figuration, as well as with the tension between surface and spatial illusionism. This great piece was sold for $61,900 at Christie’s London, in 2005.
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Featured Image: Hiroshi Sugito - Saving the Tree, detail
Hiroshi Sugito’s Bird Man is visually quite similar to his Saving the Tree. In 2004, the piece was put on sale at Sotheby’s New York, and it exceeded all expectations. Estimated at $15,000-$20,000, it was finally sold for amazing $62,500, exceeding its high estimate for 213 percent.
More about the sale here!
Featured Image: Hiroshi Sugito - Bird Man
Sugito's paintings can most readily be interpreted as visions and his canvases as the stages for his unique imagination. The Entrance is no exception. Its gentle composition coalesced with the richness of the empty space recalls Japanese traditional painting, while the rectangular forms on each side of the canvas evoke the shape of theatrical curtains or draperies perhaps suggesting a view into a singular moment of transcendence, a theme which resonates throughout his other work. The softness of the color reveals a kind of ephemeral narrative, static only by this artist's palette. The expansive blue ocean reveals a contemplative state of meditation for whoever looks upon the canvas, inducing a genuine calmness, yet with it, an uncanny dreamlike sensation.
This great piece was sold for $64,400 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, in 2010. More info on the sale here!
Featured Image: Hiroshi Sugito - The Entrance
This great piece was offered at Phillips, De Pury & Luxembourg New York in 2006. Estimated at $30,000-$40,000, it exceeded its high estimate for amazing 100 percent, and was sold for $80,000.
More info on the sale here!
Featured Image: Hiroshi Sugito - The Show
And we have a winner! It is amazing piece entitled Red Lounge. Red Lounge is one of the largest and best examples of Hiroshi Sugito's 'theatre' paintings. Entirely encompassing the viewer's field of vision, the monumental scale of the canvas entices the viewer to be absorbed completely into the fiction of the painted space. Yet, on either side of the composition, voluminous proscenium drapes frame the imagery, setting the viewer apart from this alternative realm of fantasy and imagination. As if in a theatre, the final curtain is poised ready to fall on the scene, drawing the fiction to a close. This formal device, employed by Sugito in many of his best works, serves primarily to make the viewer acutely aware of the act of looking and to reinforce the artificiality of the fiction. On a more universal level, however, it reminds us that all the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players.
This great piece was sold for $180,000 at Sotheby’s New York, in 2007. For more info on the sale, please click here!
Featured Image: Hiroshi Sugito - Red Lounge, detail. All Images used for illustrative purposes only.