"Anything with human form will resemble someone you know".

Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, is internationally known for his unique depictions of children and animals that appear both sweet and somewhat sinister at the same time. A contemporary to Takashi Murakami, Nara explores themes of isolation, rebellion, and spirituality through processes of printmaking, painting and installations and ceramics.

Nara’s reputation outside Asia had already been cemented by a major 2010 show at New York’s Society, Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool. This was bolstered by permanent acquisitions by MoCA in Los Angeles and MoMA in New York, which now houses more than 130 of his works. 

Earlier last year, Nara achieved a record breaking auction. The painting Knife Behind Back (2000) brought in nearly six times his previous auction record, achieved at Sotheby’s auction in October. After a 10 minute bidding battle, involving six collectors from around the world, the painting went to a private collector from Asia for HK$195.6 million, far surpassing Nara’s previous auction record of US$4.4 million, set in May earlier in the year at Christie’s. Like many of his depictions Knife Behind Back (2000) at first appears to simply depict a grumpy young girl in a collared red dress. The fact that the viewer can only see one the girls arms, gives the painting a more sinister feeling, implying there is more behind the image than meets the eye.

Yoshitomo Nara
Yoshitomo Nara


Contemporary Japanese Art: 3 key names to know in a booming market, In 2019, it was estimated that the contemporary...
December 8, 2020

Contemporary Japanese Art: 3 key names to know in a booming market

In 2019, it was estimated that the contemporary Japanese art market was worth over £1 billion.
On the 2nd of December, several contemporary Japanese artworks were sold in Christie’s 20th Century: Hong Kong to New York auction. All far surpassed their estimates with Yayoi Kusama’s A-PUMPKIN-SPW (2014) going under the hammer for over three times its estimate, at £3,090,144. Takashi Murakami’s work Miss ko2 (1996) sold for nearly double its estimated price at £424…
Why Collectors Are Loving Yoshitomo Nara, And how he is causing a stir in the art world, while achieving record...
September 3, 2020

Why Collectors Are Loving Yoshitomo Nara

And how he is causing a stir in the art world, while achieving record prices
Yoshitomo Nara's unique depiction of human figures are stirring up the art world. At once sweet and sinister, each reflects a raw encounter with the artist’s inner self. At 60, Nara is one of the world’s most-loved Japanese artists—whose international recognition continues to grow. Here, we take a closer look at why he is achieving record prices at auction, and becoming increasin…
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