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TAKASHI MURAKAMI (b. 1962)

 
TAKASHI MURAKAMI - Want to Hold You - acrylic on canvas - 59 x 59  in. TAKASHI MURAKAMI - Want to Hold You - acrylic on canvas - 59 x 59  in. TAKASHI MURAKAMI - Want to Hold You - acrylic on canvas - 59 x 59  in. TAKASHI MURAKAMI - Want to Hold You - acrylic on canvas - 59 x 59  in. TAKASHI MURAKAMI - Want to Hold You - acrylic on canvas - 59 x 59  in. TAKASHI MURAKAMI - Want to Hold You - acrylic on canvas - 59 x 59  in. TAKASHI MURAKAMI - Want to Hold You - acrylic on canvas - 59 x 59  in. TAKASHI MURAKAMI - Want to Hold You - acrylic on canvas - 59 x 59  in. TAKASHI MURAKAMI - Want to Hold You - acrylic on canvas - 59 x 59  in. TAKASHI MURAKAMI - Want to Hold You - acrylic on canvas - 59 x 59  in.
Want to Hold You201459 x 59 in.(149.86 cm) acrylic on canvas
Provenance
Private Collection, Commissioned by Artist, 2014
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“If I have a certain opinion, I try to incorporate that into my work.” – Takashi Murakami

History

In the world of art-speak, icon and iconic are words as popular as they are overused. Derived from the ancient Greek word ‘eikon’ meaning, ‘a likeness or image’, its definition has clearly changed over time. That’s not unexpected. But consider how we think of iconic in a contemporary context. Accept that it refers to highly original, influential, or unique works of art and artists that are well-established and widely celebrated in popular culture, and Takashi Murakami just might be the most iconic artist working today.  Time magazine thought so. In 2008, it named him one of the hundred most influential people in the world; the only visual artist included on the list.

Of course, if Murakami is under consideration as the world’s most iconic twenty-first century artist, the breadth of that acknowledgement depends on the crowded skeins of colorful smiley-faced daisies plied to everything from cushions, graphic tees and shorts, skateboards and Louis Vuitton tote-bags to multi-million-dollar artworks offered by the most prestigious galleries in the world. Warhol had his detractors. Jeff Koons certainly has them, and the signatures of 12,000 protestors decrying the staging of Murakami’s work at the Versailles Palace in 2010 suggests he was not immune to similar contempt. Yet what a triumph it proved to be; a mash-up clash of decidedly different cultures, of Japanese anime and manga staged amongst stodgy French classical art, cartoonish figures frolicking under the depictions of glowering military heroes on wall of canvases in ornately carved gilt frames.

More
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    Takashi Murakami
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    Takashi Murakami, “Flower Matango”, The Hall of Mirrors, Château de Versailles, 2010 (photo by Cedric Delsaux)
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    Takashi Murakami, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, 2005, The Coronation Room, Château de Versailles 2010-11 (photograph by Cedric Delsaux)
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    Takashi Murakami, “Flower Ball”, Vancouver Art Gallery, 2018
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    Takashi Murakami, “MURAKAMI vs MURAKAMI”, JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun. (Photography: Alex Maeland)
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    Louis Vuitton, Tokyo, Japan
“I’ve been immersed in manga since I was a kid. I grew up with this culture. So I started to think about how to compare manga to contemporary art.” – Takashi Murakami

MARKET INSIGHTS

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  • The graph by Art Market Research shows that since 2001, paintings by Murakami have increased at a 17.3% annual rate of return.
  • The record price for a Murakami painting at auction was set in 2018 when Dragon in clouds-red mutation (2010) sold for over $8.8 million USD. The highest price for any Murakami at auction is held by the sculpture The Lonesome Cowboy (1998), which sold for over $15 million USD in 2008.
  • Murakami’s flowers are among his most recognizable and desirable subject matter. They have appeared in collaborations with Kanye West, Billie Eilish, Louis Vuitton, and many other prominent names in music, media, and fashion.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s retrospective exhibition, Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats His Own Leg, 2018, is to date their most attended exhibition, signaling pervasive interest in the artist and his most iconic imagery.

Top Paintings Sold at Auction

"Dragon in Clouds - Red Mutation" (2010), acrylic on canvas, 143 x 708 5/8 in. Sold at Beijing Council International (Shanghai) Auction Co., Ltd.: 30 April 2018 for $8,825,201 USD
“Dragon in Clouds – Red Mutation” (2010), acrylic on canvas, 143 x 708 5/8 in. Sold at Beijing Council International (Shanghai) Auction Co., Ltd.: 30 April 2018 for $8,825,201 USD
"Tan Tan Bo" (2001), acrylic on canvas mounted on board, in three parts, 141.7 x 212.6 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 15 November 2018 for $5,037,500 USD
“Tan Tan Bo” (2001), acrylic on canvas mounted on board, in three parts, 141.7 x 212.6 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 15 November 2018 for $5,037,500 USD
"The Castle of Tin Tin" (1998), acrylic on canvas mounted on panel, in two parts, 118.1 x 118.1 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 13 November 2012 for $4,226,500 USD
“The Castle of Tin Tin” (1998), acrylic on canvas mounted on panel, in two parts, 118.1 x 118.1 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 13 November 2012 for $4,226,500 USD
"The World of Sphere (diptych)" (2003), acrylic on canvas laid on board, 137.8 x 137.8 in. Sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong: 5 October 2013 for $2,470,823 USD
“The World of Sphere (diptych)” (2003), acrylic on canvas laid on board, 137.8 x 137.8 in. Sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong: 5 October 2013 for $2,470,823 USD

Comparable Paintings Sold at Auction

"When I Close My Eyes, I See Shangri-la" (2012), acrylic on canvas, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in. Sold at Christie’s Hong Kong: 28 November 2015 for $1,785,645 USD
“When I Close My Eyes, I See Shangri-la” (2012), acrylic on canvas, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in. Sold at Christie’s Hong Kong: 28 November 2015 for $1,785,645 USD
  • Comparable flower piece from similar year (two years earlier)
  • Sold for over $1.7M in 2012
  • The value of Murakami paintings has increased since then at a 17.3% annual rate of return.
"Red Flower Ball (3-D)" (2007), acrylic and platinum leaf on canvas laid on board, 59.1 in. diameter. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 14 February 2008 for $1,650,000 USD
“Red Flower Ball (3-D)” (2007), acrylic and platinum leaf on canvas laid on board, 59.1 in. diameter. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 14 February 2008 for $1,650,000 USD
  • Same subject in tondo format, earlier year
  • Sold for over $1.6M nearly 15 years ago
"Flowerball Brown" (2007), acrylic and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on board, 59 in. diameter. Sold at Christie’s New York: 11 May 2011 for $1,202,500 USD
“Flowerball Brown” (2007), acrylic and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on board, 59 in. diameter. Sold at Christie’s New York: 11 May 2011 for $1,202,500 USD
  • Same subject in tondo format, in less desirable colors
  • Sold for $1.2M ten years ago

Murakami in Museum Collections

"727" (1996), acrylic on canvas mounted on board, three panels, 118 x 177 in. Museum of Modern Art, New York
“727” (1996), acrylic on canvas mounted on board, three panels, 118 x 177 in. Museum of Modern Art, New York
"PO   KO Surrealism (Green)" (1999), triptych, acrylic on canvas on board, 110 1/2 x 165 in. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
“PO + KO Surrealism (Green)” (1999), triptych, acrylic on canvas on board, 110 1/2 x 165 in. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
"Flower Matango (b)" (2001-2006), fiberglass, resin, oil paint, lacquer, acrylic plates, and iron, 157 1/2 x 118 x 98 1/2 in. The Broad, Los Angeles
“Flower Matango (b)” (2001-2006), fiberglass, resin, oil paint, lacquer, acrylic plates, and iron, 157 1/2 x 118 x 98 1/2 in. The Broad, Los Angeles
"Flower Ball" (2002), acrylic on canvas, 98 1/2 in. diameter, Seattle Art Museum
“Flower Ball” (2002), acrylic on canvas, 98 1/2 in. diameter, Seattle Art Museum

Image Gallery

Additional Resources

Read “A Closer Look: Takashi Murakami” – MCA Chicago blog post
Watch video on the significance of the “Flower” series.
Read “A Recent Unveiling of a monumental Murakami work in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo” – Timeout, Tokyo

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