Work of the Week: Katsushika Hokusai’s ‘Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji’

Christie's has set a record for the Japanese artist three times in a row.

Katsushika Hokusai, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (1830-4). Courtesy of Christie’s.

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This set of 46 prints offering 36 different views of Mt. Fuji was the top lot of Christie’s Japanese and Korean auction, part of its Asia Week sales in New York. It fetched $3.5 million including fees, setting a new world record for Hokusai, whose Under the well of the Great Wave off Kanagawa (a version of which is included in this set) is one of the most iconic images in the world.

Christie’s set the record for the Japanese artist in the same sale last year with a single woodblock print of the Great Wave, which brought in $2.8 million, a price nearly 300 percent over its presale estimate. At that going rate, getting 46 Hokusai prints for $3.5 million is a sweet bargain, if you ask us.

Katsushika Hokusai, Under the Well of the Great Wave Of Kanagawa. Courtesy of Christie's.

Katsushika Hokusai, Under the Well off the Great Wave Of Kanagawa. Courtesy of Christie’s.

The auction house also set the record for Hokusai before that, in 2021, when it sold another version of the Great Wave print for $1.6 million—a whopping 695 percent over its low estimate of $150,000, according to the Artnet Price Database. Clearly Christie’s has created a pricing ripple effect for the wave.

Other top results of this week’s sale included—you guessed it—yet another edition of the Great Wave, which achieved $693,000, more than four times its low estimate. Additionally, Hokusai’s Storm below the summit, also known as “Black Fuji,” more than doubled its low estimate, achieving $214,200.

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