Don’t Miss These 5 Top Lots from New Art Est-Ouest’s Upcoming Hong Kong Auction, From a Massive Kusama ‘Net’ to a Quintessential Nara

The 164-lot auction includes important modern and contemporary artists ranging from Gutai to Pop art.

Yayoi Kusama, Pumpkin (1998). Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest. Est. $550,000–$700,000.

On May 28, with a leadup preview May 24–27, New Art Est-Ouest auction house will present their Contemporary and Modern Art sale in Hong Kong. Featuring 164 lots, the sale features a bevy of works by internationally lauded Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Including examples of her pumpkins, hats, shoes, dots, and infinity nets—the largest net in the auction was also exhibited in the city’s M+ Museum. Works from her oeuvre also range in medium, from prints and paintings to bronzes and porcelain.

Beyond the extensive collection of work by Kusama, the sale also has a strong representation of Gutai artists—such as Kazuo Shiraga and Atsuko Tanaka—as well as Mono-ha artists like Lee Ufan and Kishio Suga. Within the realm of post-war art, a broad range of styles and mediums are included, from Pop art icons like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring to abstraction masters such as Georges Mathieu and Luis Feito.

Both the auction and the preview will take place at the contemporary art center H Queen’s in Central near Tai Kwan—emphasizing the merging of history and art. Ahead of the sale, we’ve rounded up the top lots not to be missed here.

Yayoi Kusama
Infinity-Nets (OQABT) (2007)
Est. $10,000,000–$12,000,000

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity-Nets (OQABT) (2007). Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest.

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity-Nets (OQABT) (2007). Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest.

At 94 years old, Yayoi Kusama’s storied career shows no signs of slowing down. Her iconic dot and net motifs have become some of the most famous contemporary art motifs—both in her oeuvre and her career. The present, large-scale painting is a testament to the artist’s dedicated and meticulous artistic practice.

Yoshitomo Nara
Nothing Ever Happened (1995)
Est. $1,800,000–$3,000,000

Yoshitomo Nara, Nothing Ever Happened (1995). Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest.

Yoshitomo Nara, Nothing Ever Happened (1995). © Yoshitomo Nara. Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest.

Yoshitomo Nara (b. 1959) has been the subject of more than 40 solo exhibitions in his career, and their work is housed in major institutions worldwide—from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. He is most well-known for his depictions of highly stylized children experiencing a range of emotions. A significant figure within Pop Art, and his work continues to be influential in the development of contemporary art.

Kazuo Shiraga
Work BB92 (1962)
Est. $700,00–$900,000

Kazuo Shiraga, Work BB92 (1962). Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest.

Kazuo Shiraga, Work BB92 (1962). Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest.

An early member of the avant-garde post-war Gutai artist collective, abstract painter Kazuo Shiraga is recognized for his pioneering performance painting technique. Emphasizing the act of artmaking over the product in his work, Shiraga’s paintings are known for their sense of immediacy and gesturalism. Shiraga today is considered one of the most influential Japanese artists of his generation.

Andy Warhol
Flowers (1964)
Est. $40,000–$50,000

Andy Warhol, Flowers (1964). Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest.

Andy Warhol, Flowers (1964). Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest.

The undisputed king of Pop art and one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, Andy Warhol’s bold and commercially inspired practice continues to fascinate today. Drawing inspiration from pop culture, advertisements, celebrities, and the quotidian, Warhol’s numerous now-iconic works like Marilyn Monroe (1967) and “Campbell’s Soup Cans” (1962). Warhol first engaged with flowers during his time working as a commercial illustrator, reflected in the application of the linework and color application in the present lot.

Alexander Calder
Untitled (1970)
Est. $120,000–$180,000

Alexander Calder, Untitled (1970). Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest.

Alexander Calder, Untitled (1970). Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest.

Though most well-known for his kinetic sculptures and mobiles, Alexander Calder (1898–1976) had a diverse artistic practice that spanned mediums. Favoring Fauvist color schemes and abstract, surrealist compositions, Calder’s work on paper illustrates the artist’s penchant for exploration and experimentation. In the present work, Calder’s engagement of optical illusions via a striped ground and undulating linework—influenced no doubt by the Op art movement—highlights the playful, whimsical style for which his sculptures are recognized.

Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita
Le Vent / The Wind (n.d.)
Est. 600,000–$750,000

Leonard-Tsuguharu Foujita, Le Vent / The Wind (n.d.). Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest.

Leonard-Tsuguharu Foujita, Le Vent / The Wind (n.d.). Courtesy of New Art Est-Ouest.

Japanese-French painter Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita (1886–1968) initially studied painting in Japan before relocating to Paris, where he ultimately became a seminal figure within the School of Paris. Fascinated by the bohemian culture that grew from the fin de siècle, much of his early work depicted Parisian life, and evolved with the advent of the roaring ’20s. His work was greatly influenced by Western art history and painting techniques, and his compositions frequently contain an otherworldly playfulness.

New Art Est-Ouest’s Contemporary and Modern Art in Hong Kong sale will take place May 28, 2023, 11 a.m. HKT.

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