James Tarmy has been working his way back up the Shiraga trail to give us a map of how Shiraga went from an unknown to market star:
Paris-based gallerist Rodolphe Stadler began representing Shiraga in the early 1960s, and as a result, a disproportionate number of his paintings were in European collections.More recently, another major supporter has been Axel Vervoordt, a Belgian dealer, collector, and interior designer who lives in a 12th century castle outside Antwerp. He met Shiraga in Japan in 2004, and since then has bought—again, mainly for European clients—“every Shiraga that came onto the market,” he said in an interview.
There’s no definitive tally of the number of Shiraga’s works that exist, which means it’s impossible to assess the true depth of the market. Estimates range from 350 works to 800.
Schwartzman said he has sold more than a dozen Shiraga works to U.S. collectors. McCaffrey said Shiraga enthusiasts are concentrated in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and the Midwest. […]
In 2011, five American art collectors were traveling across Japan in search of artists associated with a postwar avant-garde movement known as Gutai.
The group—influential collectors Howard Rachofsky and his wife, Cindy; their adviser, Allan Schwartzman; New York dealer Fergus McCaffrey; and Jeffrey Grove, a senior curator at the Dallas Museum of Art—viewed art stored in attics, studios, and vaults. In a small town near Osaka, the abstract paintings of Kazuo Shiraga, who was little known in the U.S., caught their attention at a private showing.
This Is How an Unknown Japanese Artist—Who Painted With His Feet—Became a Star (Bloomberg Business)