• Through a Collector's Eye: The auction at Christies

    Sale 14498

    Through a Collector's Eye: The Kenzo Kagami Collection of Postwar Japanese Art

    11 October 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 12

    Minoru Kawabata (1911 - 2001)

    Rouge Puissant (Loud Red)

    Estimate

    Minoru Kawabata (1911 - 2001)
    Rouge Puissant (Loud Red)
    signed M. Kawabata (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    162 x 130 cm.
    Painted in 1961


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    Minoru Kawabata is one of a handful of Asian artists considered part of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism. Born in Tokyo in 1911, he started as a figurative painter and achieved some success, but it was not until after the Second World War that he went on to develop into an abstract artist creating highly original paintings with a strong sense of colour and composition. In 1950 he became a professor of art at Tama University of Fine Arts, Tokyo, where he taught for five years. However in 1958 he moved to New York and became a contract artist with the Betty Parsons Gallery the same year, having quickly become associated with the New York Abstract Expressionists. His work Rhythm Brown was awarded the individual honour award at the second Guggenheim International Award in 1958 and was displayed alongside Work - Yellow by Takeo Yamaguchi (1902-1983). Exhibitions of his work followed, including those at the Venice Biennale, Italy, Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo, The Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto and the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura.

    Rouge Puissant was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1962 alongside works by Kumi Sugai and Ryokichi Mukai and typifies Kawabata’s brilliant use of colour alongside his exploration of abstraction as a form of self-expression. With strong, multidirectional and hurried brushwork, red has been layered upon red which envelops almost the entire canvas, but which is counterbalanced by an abstract white form that has been allowed to drip downwards towards the floor.

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    Provenance

    Betty Parsons Gallery, New York


    Pre-Lot Text

    Through A Collector's Eye: The Kenzo Kagami Collection of Post-War Japanese Art


    Literature

    Works and Venues of the Venice Biennale, Bijutsu Techo [art handbook], September Issue 1962, no. 209
    Kanagawa Museum of Modern Art, Kawabata Minoru ten, exhibition catalogue, (Tokyo, 1975), cat. no. 15
    National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Kawabata Minoru ten, exhibition catalogue, (Japan, 1992), cat. no. 9
    Harumi Miwa, ed., The Venice Biennale: 40 years of Japanese participation, (Tokyo, 1995), p. 90
    The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma and The Museum of Art, Ehime, Through a Collectors Eye: Japanese Art after 1945, exhibition catalogue, (Japan, 2001), cat. no. 24, p. 46


    Exhibited

    1962: 31st Venice Biennale, Venice
    1975: Kawabata Minoru ten, Kanagawa Museum of Modern Art
    1992: Kawabata Minoru ten, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, and others
    2001 - 2002: Through a Collectors Eye: Japanese Art after 1945, The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma and The Museum of Art, Ehime