Earlier this year in reaction to the devastation Japan experienced following the Tohoku-Pacific earthquake and tsunami, Takashi Murakami launched the multi-faceted New Day initiative. The project began as a blog with an open invitation for people to submit their visual responses to the disaster. The effort has grown to include charity exhibitions, artist-designed tee shirts, and the current auction. The term "New Day" has become a rallying cry for the artist:
There will always be a new tomorrow.
There will always be a new dawn.
A New day.
As part of the New Day initiative, Murakami has specifically created a number of works, including New Day: Face of the artist. Until recently, self-portraits have been rare in the artist's oeuvre. In composition the present lot recalls several of the paintings Murakami showed at his 2009 exhibition Takashi Murakami Paints Self-Portraits, at Paris' Galerie Perrotin. Yet in those images, Murakami's visage was calm, his hair styled. In the present lot, Murakami appears enraged in pain, his goatee no longer coiffed but unruly. Beneath his floating face, he has scrawled the phrase "new day" punctuated by a rising red sun.