Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2021 Spring Auctions
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Mitsuru Watanabe (b. 1953)
Yukiko's Spring

Oil on canvas

91.5 × 37 cm. 36 × 14 5/8 in.

Stamped with a painted seal of the artist, Signed in Japanese on the reverse
Private Collection, Asia

Riding on the Wings of Fairy Tale, Stepping on the
Falling Sakura Blossoms

“My daughter goes to places where she can pick flowers, play a little and take a nap. In the world of imagination, everything can be done.”
——Mitsuru Watanabe

Mitsuru Watanabe was born in Aomori, Japan in 1953. He had his first exhibition at Central Museum Ginza in 1985. After that, he released his work multiple times in Tokyo, Osaka, Korea and Hong Kong. The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama, had collected of his work, demonstrated his importance in Japan art scene. Watanabe works in a strong and distinctive personal style, and his painting language gradually became inclusive and percussive. He started to have the girl Yukiko to be the main character of his paintings since 1989. Yukiko's Spring, was a symbolic piece of work that put a lively Japanese girl into a western classic painting, traveled through time.

Watanabe recreated the famous renaissance masterpiece Allegory of Spring by Sandro Botticelli in Yukiko's Spring. The couple on the far right is the gorgeous Chloris in ancient Greek mythology and her suitor, the Greek god of the west wind Zephyrus, who was eventually accepted by the beauty. Then Chloris turned into Flora, the one standing in the middle wearing a floral gown, who is the goddess of the flowering of plants, youth and joy. Comparing to Chloris's rather plain outfit and the terrified face she had when she was chased after, Flora looks more mature with the peaceful and tender look on her face. It seems like she has turned into a woman from that little girl she once was, wearing a gown and flower accessories, showering in love. On the lower part is where Yukiko lies, wearing a Japanese school uniform and styled her hair in cute double ponytails. Having Yukiko in the painting pulled audience back to reality from its ancient Greek mythology. There's a book placing in front of her, just as she's reading something about Sandro Botticelli's Allegory of Spring. The artist wants to remind Yukiko to be cautious about what could happen in her future journey of life by telling the story of Chloris and Flora, also gives her hope about spring and love. Her eyes are still shut as in the beautiful dream of spring. She's a spectator traveling in story, emerging worlds of reality and imagination. Or, maybe Yukiko is taking a nap in the garden she ran into by mistake, unaware of how she had become a part of the scenery herself.

Price estimate:
HKD: 70,000 – 150,000
USD: 9,000 – 19,300

Auction Result:
HKD: 259,600



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