Surfacing on the market: Master of the Gutai circle

Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, Full Circle: Yoshihara Jiro Collection, 5 October


Work (1971) is among more than 20 pieces—paintings, works on paper and ceramics—from the collection of Yoshihara Jiro, the post-war Japanese artist who founded and led the Gutai movement, coming to auction for the first time at Sotheby’s, Hong Kong. It is estimated to sell for between HK$1m and HK$2m ($129,000-$258,000). The title of the sale, Full Circle, refers to the Gutai group, which formed in Osaka in 1954, and to the motif that Jiro began exploring in the early 1960s and that dominated the later stage of his career. The simple white circle on a rich black monochrome background shows not only a dichotomy of colours but of styles. Jiro drew on the symbolism of the circle in Zen Buddhist calligraphy and abstract painting practices from the West. “Spirit and matter shake hands with each other,” Jiro wrote in the Gutai manifesto.


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