Phillips has announced that it will offer Yoshitomo Nara’s Hot House Doll, in the White Room III (1995) as a leading lot in its Hong Kong contemporary evening sale being held in collaboration with the China-based Poly Auction House on November 29. The work’s estimate is available upon request through Phillips and comes to auction with a guarantee.
Hot House Doll, in the White Room III is an example of Nara’s recognizable child-like avatar, which he developed during the early stages of his career in Germany. The year the work was completed, 1995, was a crucial year for the Japanese artist. Nara had his first show with Blum & Poe Gallery, followed by an exhibition at Tokyo’s SCAI the Bathhouse gallery, both of which brought him greater international attention.
“The painting features a full-body portrait of a little girl with a broody, mischievous sulk, along with the artist’s signature wide-open almond-shaped eyes, highlighting Nara’s fixation with the darker side of childhood innocence,” said Isaure de Viel Castel, Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Phillips Hong Kong. “The blue baby doll dress depicted in the present work is rare in the artist’s oeuvre, a motif that is only scattered sporadically throughout the 1990s.”
The present work comes to market after 12 years in a private collection. Phillips expects the work to achieve a price at least in the top three records for the artist. Nara’s three highest public auction prices range from $5 million to $25 million. Nara’s Knife Behind Back (2000) achieved a record of $24.9 million when it sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2018. The second-highest sale was Can’t Wait Til the Night Comes (2012), which went for $11.9 million in November 2019 at Christie’s Hong Kong. The next record is Not Everything but / Green House (2009), which sold for $5.1 million in October 2019 at Poly Auction in Hong Kong. Each of the works feature’s Nara’s young girl figure.
The work has been exhibited widely and appeared on the cover of the artist’s catalogue raisonné, Yoshitomo Nara Complete Works 1984–2010, published in 2011. It was featured in the publication’s “Major Works” section.