Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2019 Autumn Auctions
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Key Hiraga (1936-2000)
The Elegant Life of Mr. H (Set of two pieces)(Painted in 1970)

Acrylic, watercolour and ink on paper board

26 x 32 cm. x 2 10 1/4 x12 3/5 in. x 2

Signed in English and dated on bottom center of each piece

2000, Collected Paintings of Key Hiraga, Bokushin Gallery, Tokyo, p.96
Private Collection, Asia

Bold and Astute Japanese Aesthetics
Key Hiraga's Painted Fables

In 1965, after winning the Grand Prix at the third edition of National Young Artists in Japan, Key Hiraga was invited to emigrate to Paris. Since then, he started to combine Parisian culture with Japanese pictorial tradition to create unique “modern” ukiyo-e, most notably depictions of daily life in Quartier Pigalle. In 1972, Key participated in the Japanese Artists from Europe exhibition organized by the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto as well as Salon des Beaux-Arts and Salon de la Realité Nouvelle held by Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris. He also held solo exhibitions in major galleries throughout France, the Netherlands, and Japan.

The Elegant Life of Mr. H (Set of two pieces), featured in this auction, was completed in 1970. The artist used his usual bright colors to depict a man on one canvas and a woman on another. The Upper piece shows a woman riding on a wooden horse, the shape of which resembles a human male, undermining the general view on the roles of men and women and echoing the avant-garde view advocated by then popular French philosopher Simone Beauvoir — “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” Another piece features a brightly-dressed man lying on his side. Even though he is wearing a white shirt and has a meticulously fitted tie, there are condoms on his nose and in both hands. Both characters ridicule the 1970s' French middle-class phenomenon of relieving social pressure by indulging in lust. Key, responding to the new wave gender awakening, boldly challenged traditional social cognition in his works.

Price estimate:
HKD: 60,000 – 80,000
USD: 7,700 – 10,200

Auction Result:
HKD: --



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