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

Sadamasa Motonaga (1922-2011)
Untitled(Painted in 1987)

Acrylic on porcelain

59 x 59 x 5.5 cm.23 2/9 x 23 2/9 x 2 1/6 in.

Signed in English and dated on bottom right
Whitestone Gallery, Tokyo
Private Collection, Asia

A Never-Ending Fairy Tale
Sadamasa Motonaga's Dreams and Reality

As a member of the Gutai Group, Sadamasa Motonaga made great contributions to the development of contemporary art in post-war Japan. His installation work Water, created in 1956, was referred to by Yoshihara Jiro, the founder of the Gutai Group, as the world's first ever sculpture representing water. Motonaga began developing his unique approach since 1957, inspired by the traditional Japanese tarashikomi painting technique. He dripped or poured ink onto canvas without blending it, and by adding resin enamel and turpentine, he made the colours flow in unpredictable ways and make spontaneous patterns. In 1966, he was invited to take residence in New York. Inspired by the local street art, he started using spray paint to create shapes with the effect of gradual color changes. In addition, due to his interest in children's illustrated books, his later works adopted a warmer, more innocent style reminiscent of Joan Miro, and his use of media became more modern. He humorously called himself a fool and referred to his work as “funny art.” Untitled (1987), featured in this auction, is a typical piece by Motonaga.

The artist used lines to divide the picture into grids, each of which presents a fantastic scene. The black outer area of the picture has a concise pattern created with thin white lines, which takes us back to our childhood when our teachers used chalk to write on blackboards during class. The white inner area features black lines that form a grid. On it, there is a cactus that represents a tough life and a small house with a blue roof. The dots and lines in some grids resemble people's inner feelings, impulsive as a storm. The artist juxtaposes external objects and inner feelings in a romantic and moving way. This work is Motonaga's only known painting on porcelain present on the art market. The delicateness of the media and the fairy-tale composition show viewers his whimsical inner world.

Price estimate:
HKD: 100,000 – 200,000
USD: 12,800 – 25,500

Auction Result:
HKD: 177,000



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