JIRO TAKAMATSU (1936-1998)
JIRO TAKAMATSU (1936-1998)
JIRO TAKAMATSU (1936-1998)
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JIRO TAKAMATSU (1936-1998)

Shadow of a Woman Standing

JIRO TAKAMATSU (1936-1998)
Shadow of a Woman Standing
signed, inscribed and dated ‘JIRO TAKAMATSU 1966 TOKYO JAPAN NO. 149’ (on the reverse)
oil on panel
183 x 228 cm. (72 x 89 3⁄4 in.)
Painted in 1966
Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo
New Smith Gallery, Brussels
Acquired from the above by the previous owner, thence by descent to the present owner

This work is referenced in the archive of Jiro Takamatsu and will be included in the artist's forthcoming catalogue raisonne prepared by Yumiko Chiba Associates.
New Generation of Contemporary Art, exh. cat., The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 1966 (listed, unpaginated).
Trends in Contemporary Japanese Painting and Sculpture, exh. cat., The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Kyoto, 1966 (listed, unpaginated).
The National Museum of Art, Jiro Takamatsu: Trajectory of Work, exh. cat., Suiseisha, Tokyo, 2015 (illustrated, plate 54, p. 42; listed, p. 197).
Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art, New Generation of Contemporary Art, 21 January – 27 February 1966.
Kyoto, The National Museum of Modern Art, Trends in Contemporary Japanese Painting and Sculpture, 10 May – 5 June 1966.
Sale room notice
Please note that a pair of red high-heeled shoes approved by The Estate of Jiro Takamatsu will be refilled as part of the artwork. A certificate of authenticity issued by The Estate of Jiro Takamatsu can be requested by the successful buyer.

Brought to you by

Jacky Ho (何善衡)
Jacky Ho (何善衡) Senior Vice President, Deputy Head of Department

Lot Essay

Jirō Takamatsu is one of the most influential Japanese Modern artists, particularly in the 50s-60s in which Tokyo transformed itself from the capital of a war-torn nation into an international hub for arts. Takamatsu represented Japan in the Venice Biennale in 1968 and participated in Documenta VI in Kassel, Germany in 1977. The Avant Garde artist was a major cultural leader in the Japanese art scene, who paved way for further developments in the region. Artist #149 is an emblematic work from his awarded Shadows series, which the artist pursued throughout his life since the series debuted in 1964.

On the five-by-four grids of panel that resembles a tiled wall, Artist #149 depicts the life-size shadows of a lady, suggested by the silhouette of the high heels and the outline of a knee-length skirt that frames the slender legs. Although the painting only depicts the remnant of a subject in the three-dimensional world, we can infer from the sharpness and the size of the shadows that there are two light sources – one shining upward from behind the lady through a sheer layer and another from the top right. Indeed, Takamatsu would make sketches with photographs of real model’s shadows before the delicate grey shadows and masterful trompe l’oeil effect were presented on the canvas. Artist #149, like other from the Shadows series, is an outcome of some critical inquiry into the notions of presence and materiality in the multi-dimensional world, to challenge the limits of human perception and highlight the unobserved. As Jirō Takamatsu once said, “I tried to find out its (the shadow’s) existence without touching on the details of the human body and objects. By avoiding the information that the painting gives to people as much as possible, I entrusted its existence to the imagination of the viewer.”

Artist #149 was painted in 1966 - a critical year for the artist and from where onwards his career soared. This was the year that Jirō Takamatsu held his first-ever solo exhibition “Identification” at Tokyo Gallery, featuring the early works in his Shadows series. This was also the miracle period for the artist’s country for just two years before the iconic series was put on stage, Japan successfully held her first Olympic Games in 1964 - the first opportunity of the nation to shine internationally demonstrating glorious recovery from the war. Considering the socio-political environment in the Japanese post-war period, it is possible that Jirō Takamatsu is remembering the heroic souls lost in the Hiroshima bombing in 1945 by representing them as the anonymous silhouettes in the series.

The collection Shadowing Reality presents Artist #149 in the Evening Sale, in addition to Artist #138 and Artist #147 in the 20th Century Art Day Sale this season. These are important works from a distinguished collection in Europe, in which the works have been kept private and never-seen since at least the 1980s. Artist #149, Artist #138 and Artist #147 are astonishing, rare works by Takamatsu, highlighted by the impeccable provenance originating from Tokyo Gallery and the celebrated series that the artist is most known for.

Jirō Takamatsu studied at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music but he was more successful at the forefront of the Avant-Garde movements in Tokyo. His works balance between multiple disciplinaries, referencing Dada, Surrealism, Conceptual and Minimalism. Jirō Takamatsu was the founding member of Hi Red Center, a Japanese Fluxus collective like the American counterparts Joseph Beuys and Allan Kaprow, and a key figure in the Mono-Ha movement that was led by artists Lee Ufan and Nobuo Sekine.

The artist has held multiple major exhibitions, including a landmark retrospective at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo in 2014-2015. His works are collected in major institutions like the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate Modern, London, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; as well as renowned private collections such as the Rachofsky Collection, Dallas.

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