Unseen Hockney Photographs & Yayoi Kusama Prints

in Bloomsbury Auctions' Editions & Works on Paper sale

LONDON, Maddox Street - With the ever growing popularity of Yayoi Kusama and the media buzz around her installation Infinity Mirrored Room, now is a great time to invest in some of her iconic artwork that rarely appear on the market. With Bloomsbury Auctions' latest Editions & Works on Paper sale on Thursday 2nd July, you can bid on your own piece of Kusama's magic, with prices starting at £1,800 up to £15,000.

Kusama studied painting in her native Japan before moving to New York in the late 1950s to explore her interest in the avant-garde. She became a figure of the pop art movement and organised a series of happenings, designed to protest the Vietnam War, in which naked participants were covered in polka dots in highly public places such as the Sculpture Garden of the Museum of Modern Art. After returning to Japan in 1977 Kusama admitted herself into hospital and chooses to continue living there and producing art from her studio nearby.

The polka dot is inextricably linked to the idea of infinity for Kusama, taken directly from her hallucinations, they have become a trademark of her work.

"One day I was looking at the red flower patterns of the tablecloth on a table, and when I looked up I saw the same pattern covering the ceiling, the windows and the walls, and finally all over the room, my body and the universe. I felt as if I had begun to self-obliterate, to revolve in the infinity of endless time and the absoluteness of space, and be reduced to nothingness. As I realized it was actually happening and not just in my imagination, I was frightened. I knew I had to run away lest I should be deprived of my life by the spell of the red flowers. I ran desperately up the stairs. The steps below me began to fall apart and I fell down the stairs straining my ankle" - Yayoi Kusama.

Kusama began covering surfaces in polka dots and following her success at the Venice Biennale in 1993, she went on to produce a huge, yellow pumpkin sculpture covered with an optical pattern of black spots. The pumpkin is an image that has stayed with Kusama throughout her career and the motif has grown to become what she describes as a form of self-portraiture.

The Kusama collection in Editions & Works on Paper features three works on her pumpkin sculpture and all follow her iconic optical spots motifs, prices range from £1,800 for her etchings River Wave and Town to £10,000 for her screenprints of pumpkins.

Highlights elsewhere in the sale are five original, signed photographs taken by David Hockney during his tour of China with friend Stephen Spender in 1981. Whilst some of the five are previously unseen snapshots from the trip, others were later included in the friends book the China Diary, an account of their journey narrated by Spender and illustrated with photographs, drawing and paintings by Hockney. These intriguing photographs are the only known copies to have been signed and dated by the artist [Lots 181-185, each estimated at £2,500-3,500.] A further nine photographs from the collections will be appearing in auctions later this year.

The sale at Bloomsbury Auctions spans editions and prints by Modern British, Modern European, Post-War and Contemporary artists. It features works by Lill Tschudi, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Grayson Perry and many others.


Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are a UK 'top 5' auctioneer of fine art and collectibles. As part of Stanley Gibbons we are the only UK stock-exchange listed firm of auctioneers and occupy the same stable as coin specialists Baldwin's, and Frasers Autograph's. Established in 1759, we have the broadest and most regular calendar of specialist catalogued sales in the industry, numbering over 150 per annum, and provide vendors and buyers alike access to market-leading specialist advice in any number of collecting fields. We operate from salerooms in Donnington Priory (near Newbury), London's Mayfair, Bristol and Godalming.

LONDON, Maddox Street - 19th June 2015