Signed; signed and titled in Japanese on the reverse
Private Collection Asia; Sale: Shinwa Art Auction Tokyo Modern Art 19 November 2011 Lot 64; Private Collection Asia; Sale: Shinwa Art Auction Tokyo Modern Art 23 November 2014 Lot 155; Acquired directly from the previous by the present owner;; ;; Auspicious Yellow of 1970 by Kazuo Shiraga is a riot of colour and texture showcasing the great master of the Gutai movement's signature method in a voluptuous application of oil paint all within this exquisite jewel-like painting. Executed circa 1970 the present work can be seen as a classic example of the very essence of this radical and seismic movement that tore up the rule book globally rather than the effect being confined merely to Japan and Asia. The Gutai Art Association was founded in 1954 by the charismatic Jirō Yoshihara an eccentric millionaire and artist who exhorted his followers to: "make something that has never existed before". The group rose from the ashes of Post-War Japanese culture where a combination of defeat and a state founded on anachronism stifled creativity and fostered a lack of confidence that was shattered by the sheer exhilaration of this radical new practice. As a leading figure from the movement that included luminaries such as Shozo Shimamoto and Chiyu Uemae Kazuo Shiraga's approach to painting sent shockwaves through the global art world. The great French innovator Yves Klein visited Japan between 1952 and 1954 and the influence of Shiraga's espousal of using his body to replace a paintbrush can clearly be seen in Klein's Anthropometry series. Shiraga's work consistently appears in the most important private and public collections in the world not least the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo the Museum of Modern Art New York The Guggenheim Collection New York and Tate Modern London amongst many others.; ; The present work evokes these developments clearly with the paint applied seemingly at random and delivering exquisitely spontaneous results. The luxurious application of oil even within such a constrained pictorial plane indicates the confidence of a master at work and indeed can be seen as one of the most successful examples in this format ever to come to market. Japanese traditions of working in small format add extra potency to this work to sustain the tension of the composition in such a tight frame requires a genuine understanding of the medium not unlike in the creation of netsuke or indeed origami.